Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Knee News

Rare and Unexpected Complication of Meniscus Degeneration

There's been a rash of recent cases of osteonecrosis associated with medial meniscus degeneration. More than 35 cases have been reported recently. This study adds another five more cases.

Osteonecrosis is the death of bone. Degeneration of the medial meniscus (cartilage along the inner side of the knee joint) is an age-related condition. The previous 35 patients had the meniscus removed arthroscopically. Then they developed osteonecrosis.

In the five patients from this study, painful knee symptoms of meniscus degeneration were followed by spontaneous osteonecrosis (SON) of the knee. None had knee surgery for meniscus tears. All of the patients were men over 60 years old. MRIs taken early on showed no sign of SON.

Despite exercises and non-inflammatory drugs, all five had increased pain about two months later. A second MRI showed the presence of SON. The authors aren't sure what (if any) connection there is between medial meniscus degeneration and SON. They saw over 800 other patients with medial meniscal tear. All were more than 60 years old. Non had SON.

In earlier studies it was suggested that arthroscopic meniscectomy was the cause of SON. With this study, it appears that some other mechanism is at work. Older adults with meniscus degeneration should be evaluated for the possibility of SON before the meniscus is removed. Removing the meniscus is known to speed up the break down of the joint with early arthritis.

D. Luis Muscolo, MD, et al. Medial Meniscus Tears and Spontaneous Osteonecrosis of the Knee. In The Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery. April 2006. Vol. 22. No. 4. Pp. 457-460.


*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
All content provided by eORTHOPOD® is a registered trademark of Medical Multimedia Group, L.L.C.. Content is the sole property of Medical Multimedia Group, LLC and used herein by permission.

Our Specialties

Where Does It Hurt?

Our Locations

  Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow us on YouTube
Follow us on Twitter