Outcomes and Patient Satisfaction With Arthroscopic Partial Meniscectomy for Degenerative and Traumatic Tears in Middle-Aged Patients With No or Mild Osteoarthritis

Am J Sports Med. 2019 Aug;47(10):2412-2419. doi: 10.1177/0363546519857589. Epub 2019 Jun 28.


Background: There is controversy about the benefit of arthroscopic partial meniscectomy (APM) for degenerative lesions in middle-aged patients.

Purpose: To compare satisfaction with APM between middle-aged patients with no or mild knee osteoarthritis (OA) and a degenerative meniscal tear and those with a traumatic tear.

Study design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 2.

Methods: A comparative prospective study at 5 years of middle-aged patients (45-60 years old) with no or mild OA undergoing APM for degenerative (n = 115) or traumatic (n = 143) tears was conducted. Patient satisfaction was measured by a 5-point Likert scale and functional outcomes by the Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) and Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC). Univariate and multivariate regression analyses were used to identify factors correlating with patient-reported satisfaction at 5 years postoperatively.

Results: Baseline patient characteristics were not different between groups. At the 5-year evaluation, the satisfaction rate in the traumatic and degenerative groups was 68.5% versus 71.3%, respectively (P = .365). Patient satisfaction was significantly associated with functional outcomes (r = 0.69; P = .024). In the degenerative group, 43 patients (37.4%) had OA progression to Kellgren-Lawrence (K-L) grade 2 or 3, but only 24 patients (20.8%) had a symptomatic knee at final follow-up. Multivariate regression analysis for patient dissatisfaction at 5-year follow-up showed the following significant independent factors: female sex (odds ratio [OR], 1.6 [95% CI, 1.1-2.3]; P = .018), body mass index >30 kg/m2 (OR, 2.6 [95% CI, 1.7-4.9]; P = .035), lateral meniscal tears (OR, 0.6 [95% CI, 0.1-0.9]; P = .039), and OA progression to K-L grade ≥2 at final follow-up (OR, 1.4 [95% CI, 1.2-2.6]; P = .014). At the final evaluation, there were no significant differences between groups in pain scores (P = .648), WOMAC scores (P = .083), or KOOS-4 scores (P = .187). Likewise, there were no significant differences in the KOOS subscores for Pain (P = .144), Symptoms (P = .097), or Sports/Recreation (P = .150). Although the degenerative group had significantly higher subscores for Activities of Daily Living (P = .001) and Quality of Life (P = .004), the differences were considered not clinically meaningful.

Conclusion: There were no meaningful differences in patient satisfaction or clinical outcomes between patients with traumatic and degenerative tears and no or mild OA. Predictors of dissatisfaction with APM were female sex, obesity, and lateral meniscal tears. Our findings suggested that APM was an effective medium-term option to relieve pain and recover function in middle-aged patients with degenerative meniscal tears, without obvious OA, and with failed prior physical therapy.

Keywords: degenerative meniscus; middle aged; osteoarthritis; partial meniscectomy; satisfaction.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Arthroscopy / methods*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries / surgery*
  • Knee Joint / surgery
  • Male
  • Meniscectomy / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*