The effects of arthroscopic partial lateral meniscectomy in an otherwise normal knee: a retrospective review of functional, clinical, and radiographic results

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      A retrospective review of patients who underwent arthroscopic partial lateral meniscectomy for lateral meniscus tears in otherwise normal knees was conducted to review the long-term functional, clinical, and radiographic results. Twenty-six patients (27 knees) were evaluated by questionnaire; 20 patients (21 knees) also underwent physical examination and radiographic analysis. Minimum follow-up was 5 years and mean follow-up was 8 years. Patient data were obtained from detailed questionnaires, knee examinations, and radiographs. Excellent or good results decreased from 92% at the time of maximal improvement to 62% at the most recent follow-up: 85% of patients were initially able to return to their preinjury activity level; however, only 48% were able to maintain this level of activity at the most recent follow-up. Seventy-two percent of patients had either one or no Fairbank changes and there was no statistical difference when comparing radiographic criteria in the operated and nonoperated knee. Early results for partial lateral meniscectomy can be quite good; however, significant deterioration of functional results and decreased activity level can occur. Radiographic changes did not correlate with subjective sumptoms and functional outcome in our patient population. Our findings suggest that the functional outcome for patietns undergoing partial lateral meniscectomy may deteriorate with time and it may be helpful to counsel patients concerning long-term expectations.


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