Do any patients benefit from knee arthroscopy?
Many middle-aged and older adults with a meniscal tear and knee pain are not likely to benefit from arthroscopic partial meniscectomy, a review suggests.
Researchers analysed 10 clinical trials that randomly offered some patients the arthroscopic surgery and others nonsurgical options, including exercise or medication.
Overall, partial meniscectomy was no better than the nonsurgical alternatives for improving physical function, and resulted in only a small reduction in pain.
However, when researchers looked just at a subset of patients without osteoarthritis, surgery did appear moderately better than physical therapy for reducing pain from the tear.
Lead study author Dr Simon Abram, of the University of Oxford in the UK, said the results showed surgery did not work for everyone but, in selected cases, it should be available to patients.
"In most circumstances, patients should