Long-Term Results of Partial Meniscectomy

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SummaryMeniscectomy has been practiced for almost 100 years. Although the initial results were encouraging, concerns have been raised over the long-term development of gonarthrosis. Biomechanical studies have shown an increase in peak loads on the Joint surfaces correlated to the amount of meniscus tissue removed. In several long-term studies, the frequency of joint space narrowing as a sign of early gonarthrosis is significantly increased after open meniscectomy. Results are usually better after open partial meniscectomy, and after partial arthroscopic meniscectomy several studies indicate good functional and subjective results even with continuing sports participation at 10 to 15 years after the initial surgery. The rate of joint space narrowing, however, is increased compared with normal knees, and reaches almost 50%, but mostly the roentgenographic changes are nonsymptomatic. Ligament instability increases the risk of gonarthrosis even further. A conclusion based on the findings in follow-up studies with a 10− to 15-year perspective is that arthroscopic partial meniscectomy is a good therapy with predictable and satisfactory results in stable knees.

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