The purpose of this pilot study was to compare the effectiveness of conservative therapy involving medical exercise therapy (MET) versus arthroscopic surgery in patients with knee pain, with MRI-verified degenerative meniscus. The patients were randomly assigned either to MET (n = 9) or to arthroscopic surgery (n = 8). Patients receiving MET had 3 treatments a week for 3 months, a total of 36 treatments. The arthroscopy consisted of meniscectomy with no structured conservative therapy after surgery. Assessment of pain, function, anxiety and depression were performed at inclusion and after 3 months. At the end of treatment, which was 3 months after inclusion, there were no statistical differences between the two groups regarding pain and function. However, anxiety and depression were significantly reduced in the MET group compared with the patients receiving arthroscopic surgery. Bearing in mind the low number of included patients in this pilot study, arthroscopy was found to be no better than MET regarding knee pain and overall daily function. The results from this pilot study are similar to other clinical studies, thereby demonstrating that conservative therapy is just as effective as surgery.
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