Arthroscopy for degenerative meniscal tears

Arthroscopy for degenerative meniscal tears in middle aged patients is a common procedure. Does it help?

No, not significantly, according to a recent systematic review in the CAMJ.

There was a short term functional improvement that was not considered to be a ‘minimally important difference’. There was no difference in pain (short or long term) and no difference in long term function.


There is moderate evidence to suggest that there is no benefit to arthroscopic meniscal débridement for degenerative meniscal tears in comparison with nonoperative or sham treatments in middle-aged patients with mild or no concomitant osteoarthritis. A trial of nonoperative management should be the first-line treatment for such patients.

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