The effect of partial meniscectomy on the long-term prognosis of knees with localized, severe chondral damage. A twelve- to fifteen-year followup

Am J Sports Med. 1996 May-Jun;24(3):258-62. doi: 10.1177/036354659602400302.


We retrospectively matched 42 patients with unilateral chondral damage in the weightbearing zone of one knee compartment according to sex, age, location of chondral damage, and follow-up time. Two groups of 21 patients were formed. One group had chondral damage only. The other group had chondral damage and a meniscal tear treated with partial meniscectomy. After 12 to 15 years, all patients were reexamined. Twenty-nine percent (N = 6) of the patients who had a partial meniscectomy needed repeat meniscal surgery during followup. No patients with isolated chondral damage developed meniscal symptoms, and only three patients underwent minor surgeries (P < 0.02). At the follow-up evaluation, both groups had similar knee function with a mean Lysholm score of 87 points. However, most patients had reduced their sports activities from competitive individual sports before injury to noncompetitive physical fitness exercise at followup. At the roentgenologic examination, patients who had partial meniscectomies had more severe roentgenologic signs of osteoarthritis than patients who had chondral damage only (P < 0.03). Meniscectomy, varus knee alignment at the follow-up evaluation (P < 0.04), and age older than 30 years (P < 0.04) at the time of the operation were associated with a higher incidence of osteoarthritis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Arthroscopy
  • Cartilage, Articular / diagnostic imaging
  • Cartilage, Articular / injuries*
  • Cartilage, Articular / surgery
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Knee / diagnostic imaging
  • Knee / physiopathology
  • Knee Injuries / surgery*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Menisci, Tibial / diagnostic imaging
  • Menisci, Tibial / surgery*
  • Minor Surgical Procedures
  • Osteoarthritis / diagnostic imaging
  • Osteoarthritis / etiology
  • Physical Fitness
  • Prognosis
  • Radiography
  • Reoperation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sports
  • Tibial Meniscus Injuries
  • Weight-Bearing