Complications of arthroscopic meniscectomy in the older population

Am J Sports Med. 2012 Jun;40(6):1402-5. doi: 10.1177/0363546512443043. Epub 2012 Apr 10.


Background: Complications of arthroscopic meniscectomy in the older population have not been established.

Purpose: To determine the risk and relative risk of developing pyogenic arthritis (PA), a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and pulmonary embolism (PE) in an older population of patients who have undergone arthroscopic meniscectomy.

Study design: Case series; Level of evidence, 4.

Methods: Men and women ≥65 years old who underwent procedures coded as CPT-29880 (medial and lateral meniscectomy) and CPT-29881 (medial or lateral meniscectomy) were identified in the Medicare Standard Analytic Files database from 2005 to 2008. Identified patients were analyzed for gender and postoperative complications, including PA, DVT, and PE, occurring within 90 days of the index operation.

Results: Overall, 314,578 patients (119,814 men and 194,764 women) were identified. With respect to the Current Procedural Terminology codes, 131,420 patients were coded 29880 and 183,158 patients were coded 29881. In the study population, 0.4% (1107 patients) developed PA, 0.8% (2507 patients) developed a DVT, and 0.3% (982 patients) developed a PE. Among male patients, 0.4% developed PA, 0.7% developed a DVT, and 0.2% developed a PE. Among female patients, 0.3% developed PA, 0.8% developed a DVT, and 0.3% developed a PE. Overall, men had a statistically significant higher relative risk of PA and women had a statistically significant higher relative risk of DVT and PE.

Conclusion: Postoperative complications, including PA, DVTs, and PEs, are rare in patients ≥65 years old. However, gender-specific differences in the rate and type of postoperative complications may exist. Further studies in this population are warranted.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthritis / epidemiology
  • Arthritis / etiology
  • Arthroscopy / adverse effects*
  • Databases, Factual / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicare / statistics & numerical data
  • Menisci, Tibial / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Pulmonary Embolism / epidemiology
  • Pulmonary Embolism / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk
  • Sex Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Venous Thrombosis / epidemiology
  • Venous Thrombosis / etiology