Degenerative Meniscus Tears Rarely Require Surgery


And your surgeon says you need surgery… maybe not… next

Meniscal Tears May Not Need Surgery

Jack Cush reporting in RheumNow cited a study published in the British Medical Journal examines whether knee surgery or conservative medical management benefits those with degenerative meniscal tears. Patients with knee pain from a degenerative meniscal tear were randomized to either arthroscopic surgery (followed by daily exercises at home) or physical therapy (neuromuscular and strength exercises) two to three times a week for 12 weeks.

Over the next 2 years both groups improved. Muscle strength had improved more, on average, in the physical therapy group at the three-month checkup, but at the final two-year checkup, there was essentially no difference between the surgery and therapy groups, including in pain, ability to function in sports and recreation activities, and quality of life. The researchers noted that 19 percent of the therapy group opted to have surgery at some point but had achieved “no additional benefit” by the end of the study.

Conservative exercise therapy was equal to arthroscopic intervention overall, but also showed positive effects over surgery short-term muscle strength.  Clinicians should consider conservative management and physical therapy in middle-aged patients with degenerative meniscal tears.

Comment: Degenerative meniscus tears are secondary to the arthritis. Surgery is not generally warranted.

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