Partial meniscectomy for meniscus tears is one of the most common procedures performed by orthopaedic surgeons. Much research has been done to evaluate the biomechanical consequences and clinical outcomes from meniscus débridement. Biomechanically, as the portion of the meniscus that is removed increases, greater contact pressures are experienced by the cartilage, which leads to altered knee mechanics. The use of partial meniscectomy to manage degenerative meniscus tears in knees with mild preexisting arthritis and mechanical symptoms may be beneficial; however, its routine use in the degenerative knee over physical therapy alone is not supported. In younger populations, partial meniscectomy may provide equal long-term symptom relief, earlier return to play, and lower revision surgery rate compared with meniscal repair. Partial meniscectomy may result in earlier development of osteoarthritis. Treatment should be patient specific in a shared-decision making process with the patient after discussion about known outcomes.
From the Division Sports Medicine and Shoulder Surgery, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California San Francisco Medical Center, San Francisco, CA (Dr. Feeley) and the Division of Sports Medicine and Shoulder Surgery, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC (Dr. Lau).
Dr. Feeley or an immediate family member serves as a board member, owner, officer, or committee member of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine and the Orthopaedic Research Society. Dr. Lau or an immediate family member has received research or institutional support from GE Healthcare.