What patients need to know about their knee injury and meniscus treatments

The meniscus is a c-shaped piece of cartilage located in the knee joint. This vulnerable tissue is critical to normal knee function by acting as a shock absorber from walking and exercise. We are seeing an increase in osteoarthritis in younger individuals in part to increased meniscus tears. The JBJS Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery recently published an article highlighting some important talking points between the patient & physician re Meniscus treatment.  Sometimes, when conservative options fail the meniscus may be partially removed called a meniscectomy. It’s important patients are well informed of the pro’s and con’s of available treatments including surgery. For more info click here. Some summary points from the JBJS article:

  • A high activity level, younger age, medial (inside knee) meniscectomy, and smaller meniscal resection play a role in reducing the time until patients are able to return to sport.
  • Improved clinical outcomes can be expected for male patients without obesity who are undergoing medial meniscectomy with less meniscal resection. Varus (Bowlegged) or valgus (knee Knocked) deformities, preexisting degenerative changes in the knee, and ACL/anterior cruciate ligament deficiency negatively impact outcomes following meniscectomy.
  • Failure rates following meniscectomy are relatively low compared with meniscal repair (stitches to repair rather than removing tissue) and discoid (oversized large meniscus), although revision rates are increased in patients undergoing lateral (outside knee) meniscectomy.
  • Meniscectomy increases the risk of developing knee osteoarthritis (OA), particularly in female patients with obesity who undergo large meniscal resection. Because of the risk of developing arthritis, there is increase in the likelihood of total knee arthroplasty following meniscectomy.
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