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Knee News

Results of Partial Meniscectomy for Patients Over Seventy

Taking out part of the knee meniscus is a fairly common procedure.  Even in patients up to age 65, this procedure has good results 65 to 96 percent of the time. However, it has not been studied in patients over 70. Researchers think that age-related changes, such as the degeneration of the knee joint and cartilage, may make good results harder to come by for this group.

These authors studied the results of "partial meniscectomy" in patients over 70. Ninety-one patients had the procedure. The surgery was done with an arthroscope--a device that lets doctors operate inside the joint through a small incision.

The participants included 56 women and 35 men. Their average age was 74. Before surgery, patients had X-rays to look for signs of arthritis. Videotapes were also taken to check for damage in the articular cartilage. Articular cartilage covers the ends of the knee bones and allows the joint to smoothly bend back and forth. The results of the X-rays and videotapes were "graded" from zero to four, with zero being no arthritis or cartilage damage.

Patients whose grades were higher for arthritis and cartilage damage were generally less satisfied with surgery and were less likely to say they'd choose the procedure again. They were also more likely to need more surgery.

It is possible to get good results in patients over 70. However, the authors think that the results of meniscectomy may have more to do with the condition of the knee joint and cartilage than with patients' age. Still, patients over 70 shouldn't expect the excellent results typically seen in younger patients.


Xavier Crevoisier, MD, Urs Munzinger, MD, and Tomas Drobny, MD. Arthroscopic Partial Meniscectomy in Patients Over 70 Years of Age. In Arthroscopy. September 2001. Vol. 17. No. 7. Pp. 732-736.

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