Reconsidering Torn Meniscus Surgery: Often Unnecessary for Most Individuals

As is already well-established, surgery to repair torn meniscus due to wear and tear rarely provides benefits; now a study has demonstrated this fact even further by showing there are no small groups who experience positive outcomes as a result of this operation.

Researchers suggest that surgery shouldn’t be undertaken anymore and instead focus on prevention with physiotherapy as part of a personalized approach to care.

Surgery may not always be necessary when treating torn meniscus injuries in individuals without an acute knee trauma history, with research showing arthroscopic surgery not being any more beneficial than physical therapy or even making an incision in their knee joint (sham surgery).

Meniscus tears often happen without cause and usually result in no physical discomfort; nonetheless, this condition still requires surgery by many orthopedic surgeons and researchers were keen to identify smaller groups who should receive this care.

Data was gathered from four meniscus surgery studies, providing data on 605 individuals in total. The raw data was then reanalyzed in greater context to identify subgroups for whom surgery might be useful based on 13 factors including knee function, location of tear, gender, BMI and age.

Artificial intelligence was used to analyze the data, but no subgroup was identified that scored higher on knee function, knee pain or mental wellbeing measures.

This study illustrates that there are no small groups of individuals who should receive surgical intervention. According to researchers, meniscus surgery should generally only be considered in exceptional circumstances such as when there is an irreparably locked knee or it no longer possible to stretch out a knee joint.