A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) shows that middle-aged or older patients with mild or no osteoarthritis of the knee may not benefit from arthroscopic knee surgery. The meta-analysis review evaluated seven published randomized control trials between 1946 and 2014 on the success arthroscopic partial meniscectomy in patients with no to mild osteoarthritis compared to nonoperative treatments, according to a Science Daily news report. The sample total was 811 knees in 805 patients with an average age of 56 years.

The Science Daily news report notes that in four trials, there was no short-term pain relief in the first 6 months after surgery for patients with some osteoarthritis. In addition, there was no improvement in long-term function up to 2 years later in five trials.

The operation had become popular because as people age, the meniscus in the knee thins and becomes less flexible as well as more susceptible to tearing, causing pain and mechanical issues, as indicated on the Science Daily report. Each year, more than 4 million such keyhole surgeries are performed worldwide for degenerative meniscus tears.

Moin Khan, BHSc, MD, principal investigator of the study, says doctors should carefully weigh the costs and benefits when deciding who should undergo the procedure. Khan explains, “This study shows that surgery should not be the initial option for middle-aged or older patients, as there is limited evidence supporting partial meniscectomy surgery for meniscus tears. Other treatments should be used first.”

[Source: Science Daily]