Arthroscopic partial lateral meniscectomy in an otherwise normal knee: Clinical, functional, and radiographic results of a long-term follow-up study

Arthroscopy. 2001 Nov-Dec;17(9):946-52. doi: 10.1053/jars.2001.28952.


Purpose: To determine the clinical, functional, and radiographic long-term results of patients who underwent arthroscopic partial lateral meniscectomy in an otherwise normal knee.

Type of study: This was a retrospective case-control study.

Methods: Between 1982 and 1991, 107 arthroscopic partial lateral meniscectomies were performed; 75 of these patients had an isolated lateral meniscal tear and their data were evaluated using the Lysholm score and a questionnaire recording patients' subjective satisfaction. Radiographic analysis was performed according to the Jäger-Wirth classification and Fairbank changes.

Results: All 75 patients were examined by questionnaire, 55 underwent physical examination, and 58 had radiographic analysis. The follow-up period ranged from 5 to 15 years. Excellent and good Lysholm score results decreased from 77% at maximal improvement to 66% at follow-up; 43% of patients maintained their level of maximal improvement, 78% showed one or more Fairbank changes at follow-up, and using the Jäger-Wirth score, 84% showed radiographic deterioration.

Conclusions: Although deterioration of functional and especially radiographic results occurred after arthroscopic partial lateral meniscectomy, the number of good results, even with mean follow-up of 12.3 years, is remarkable. There was a high percentage of radiographic changes in our study, but there is no significant correlation between them and subjective symptoms or between them and functional outcome. We believe that careful meniscectomy provides good results for a long period of time but, the longer the follow-up, the more radiographic changes have to be expected; when meniscal refixation is possible, it should be performed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arthroscopy / methods*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Menisci, Tibial / diagnostic imaging
  • Menisci, Tibial / surgery*
  • Prognosis
  • Radiography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tibial Meniscus Injuries*
  • Treatment Outcome