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Mechanical Symptoms and Arthroscopic Partial Meniscectomy in Patients With Degenerative Meniscus Tear FREE

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The full report is titled “Mechanical Symptoms and Arthroscopic Partial Meniscectomy in Patients With Degenerative Meniscus Tear. A Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Trial.” The authors are R. Sihvonen, M. Englund, A. Turkiewicz, and T.L.N. Järvinen, for the Finnish Degenerative Meniscal Lesion Study Group.

This article was published at www.annals.org on 9 February 2016.


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Ann Intern Med. 2016;164(7):I-15. doi:10.7326/P16-9008
© 2016 American College of Physicians
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9 22016.

What is the problem and what is known about it so far?

Arthroscopic surgery is often done to remove meniscal fragments in patients with degenerative meniscal tears and knee pain. Although recent randomized, controlled trials have shown that arthroscopic partial meniscectomy (APM) is not an effective treatment of degenerative meniscal tears, whether patients with symptoms of knee locking or catching might benefit from this procedure is unclear.

Why did the researchers do this particular study?

To see whether APM is more effective than sham (or fake) surgery in relieving symptoms of knee locking or catching in patients with degenerative meniscal tears.

Who was studied?

146 patients aged 35 to 65 years with knee pain and degenerative meniscal tears. Patients with a history of knee trauma or knee osteoarthritis were excluded.

How was the study done?

The patients were randomly assigned to have either APM or sham surgery. They were asked about the presence of mechanical symptoms (knee locking or catching) before surgery and at 2, 6, and 12 months after surgery. The investigators compared the risk for mechanical symptoms between the groups overall during the 1-year follow-up.

What did the researchers find?

Overall, similar proportions of patients in both groups reported symptoms of knee locking or catching during follow-up. In addition, when the analysis focused only on patients with preoperative symptoms, the groups had similar risks for knee locking or catching during follow-up.

What were the limitations of the study?

The trial was not originally designed to answer the question of whether APM is an effective treatment of symptoms of knee catching or locking associated with degenerative meniscal tears.

What are the implications of the study?

Arthroscopic partial meniscectomy does not offer any benefit over sham (or fake) surgery in relieving symptoms of knee locking or catching in patients with degenerative meniscal tears.

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