Cross-sectional analysis of trends in meniscectomy and meniscus repair

Orthopedics. 2013 Aug;36(8):e1007-13. doi: 10.3928/01477447-20130724-15.


Knee arthroscopy to address meniscus tears is among the most common orthopedic procedures performed, and technical advances in the treatment of meniscus tears have affected the treatment options available to orthopedic surgeons. The purpose of this study was to perform a large cross-sectional analysis of orthopedic patients to investigate trends in arthroscopic meniscectomy and meniscus repair in the United States. Patients who underwent arthroscopic meniscectomy (Current Procedural Terminology codes 29881 and 29880) and arthroscopic meniscus repair (Current Procedural Terminology codes 29882 and 29883) were identified using the PearlDiver Patient Record Database, which is a national database of insurance records. The authors identified 187,607 arthroscopic medial or lateral meniscectomies and repairs performed between 2004 and 2009. Ninety-six percent of patients underwent meniscectomy and 4% underwent repair. No change occurred in the incidence of medial or lateral meniscectomy. The incidence of medial meniscus repair decreased from 5.3 cases per 10,000 patients in 2004 to 3.8 in 2009 (P<.001), although no significant change occurred in the incidence of lateral meniscus repair. Medial meniscectomy was most commonly performed in patients aged 50 to 59 years, whereas lateral meniscectomy demonstrated a bimodal age distribution. Conversely, meniscus repairs were most frequently performed in patients aged 10 to 19 years. Sex differences were more pronounced with meniscus repair (63% male vs 37% female) compared with meniscectomy (53% male vs 47% female). A high frequency of meniscus debridement can be expected in arthroscopic knee surgery. Despite advances in meniscus repair techniques and devices, no increase occurred in the performance of meniscus repair compared with meniscectomy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthroscopy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Arthroscopy / trends*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Knee Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Knee Injuries / surgery*
  • Male
  • Menisci, Tibial / surgery*
  • Middle Aged
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / trends
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Distribution
  • Tibial Meniscus Injuries*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult