July 2018

Surgery Offers Young Patients Long-Term Benefits after Meniscus Tears

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Young patients who underwent surgery for isolated meniscus tears between 1990 and 2005 showed positive long-term clinical results. The study represents one of the largest long-term follow-up cohorts describing clinical outcomes of meniscus repair in pediatric patients to date.

“The patients we observed at long-term follow up had an average IKDC score of 92.3, continuing increases from the pre-operative average of 65.3 and mid-term average of 90.2,” noted corresponding author Aaron Krych, MD, from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “These numbers show a significant, lasting improvement in functional outcomes for those involved in this study.”

Researchers examined 32 patients (and 33 knees) at an average follow-up of 17.6 years after surgery. At the time of repair, the average age of patients was 16.1 years. Of the 33 knees included in the study, none had a failed repair since the previous follow-up in 2008. The average Tenger activity score was 6.53, lower than pre-operative 8.33 and mid-term scores of 8.39, though the authors indicated decreasing sports activity with age may be an independent risk factor and not indicative of poorer surgical outcomes.

“Finding the best treatment options for these meniscus tears is important not only to the patient’s immediate recovery, but for long-term health and wellness,” commented Krych. “Our research team believes the data from this study shows the promise of surgery for young patients with these types of injuries.”

The paper, “Operative and Non-Operative Management of Osteochondritis Dissecans in the Knee of Skeletally Immature Patients: Rates of Persistent Knee Pain, Osteoarthritis, and Arthroplasty at Mean 14-Years Follow-Up” by lead author Mario Hevesi, MD, was presented in a special Pediatrics session. Limitations of the work include no MRI data or radiograph images available, and a relatively small patient population despite being one of the largest groups studied. Future studies to assess the progression of knee osteoarthritis are recommended.

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