1 West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust Ringgold Standard Institution, Watford General Hospital, Vicarage Rd, Watford WD18 0HB, UK
2 North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust Ringgold Standard, Institution, London, UK
The use of arthroscopic partial meniscectomy for middle aged to older adults with knee pain is one of the most common surgical procedures with approximately 150,000 knee arthroscopies being carried out in the United Kingdom each year, and about five times that number in the United States. Despite this, the procedure remains controversial. The aim of this paper is to provide a comprehensive review of the role of arthroscopic meniscectomy in patients with degenerative meniscus tears and suggest recommendations for clinical practice.
A thorough literature search was performed using available databases, including Pubmed, Medline, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library to cover important randomised control trials surrounding the use of arthroscopic partial meniscectomy.
The majority of randomised control trials suggest that arthroscopic partial meniscectomy is not superior to conservative measures such as exercise programmes. Furthermore, one randomised control trial found that arthroscopic partial meniscectomy was not even superior to sham surgery.
There is significant overtreatment of knee pain with arthroscopic partial meniscectomy when alternative, less invasive and less expensive treatment options are equally effective. First-line treatment of degenerative meniscus tears should be non-operative therapy focused on analgesia and physical therapy to provide pain relief as well as improve mechanical function of the knee joint. Arthroscopic partial meniscectomy should be considered as a last resort when extensive exercise programmes and physiotherapy have been tried and failed.
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