Removing parts of the Meniscus and Knee Arthritis: More Research Raises further Concerns
Yet another study was published on the link between removing parts of the knee meniscus in menisectomy (athropscopy) knee surgery and poor outcome. These researchers looked at few different studes and summarized their results. They concluded that, “The amount of removed meniscus is the most important predictor factor for the development of osteoarthritis.” In other words, taking out more meniscus during knee surgery is correlated with more arthritis of the knee going forward. This conclusion fits with the opinions of other researchers that have shown the same connection between knee meniscus surgery and arthritis of the knee. How should this influence patient decision making? If knee surgery is planned and you’re tied to the concept that this is the only thing that will help your knee, ask the surgeon if he plans to remove torn parts of the meniscus. Ask these questions even if you’re told that the surgeon plans a “meniscus repair”, as many surgeons won’t try to repair the tears in the “white zone” of the meniscus without blood supply (this is 2/3’rds of the meniscus). In addition, request that the surgeon not remove any pieces of the meniscus or to try to remove as little as possible. As always, we would question the efficacy of the concept of knee surgery for meniscus tears in all but the most extreme circumstances. Our opinion would be to try newer biologic alternative injections like PRP, stem cells, etc… rather than knee surgery for a torn meniscus.