A New England Journal of Medicine study revealed that surgery may not always be the best approach for patients with osteoarthritis (OA) and meniscal tears, and physical therapy may be a better long-term treatment option. The Meniscal Tear in Osteoarthritis Research (METEOR) study yielded results showing no major variation in functional improvement 6 months after the patients were subjected to treatments with either postoperative physical therapy or standard physical therapy alone, according to a news report in BusByway.
In addition, the same result was yielded after 12 months of treatment. With no significant differences from 6 to 12 months of therapy, the researchers concluded that a dedicated physical therapy routine of patients suffering from both OA and meniscal tear should be the primary aid, as indicated on the BusByway news report. Results of the study show that investing in long-term physical therapy program would be a better option since it gives a better understand of the condition of patients and a safer and more proper way of treating them.
Based on the METEOR study, “Patients who were given standardized physical therapy—individualized treatment and a progressive home exercise program—had the choice of “crossing over” to surgery if significant improvements were not demonstrated. Thirty percent of patients crossed over to surgery during the first 6 months.”
The study also notes, “At 12 months these patients reported similar outcomes compared to those who initially had surgery. Seventy percent of patients remained with standardized physical therapy.” The research later identified that there is a need to persuade health care providers to reassess their approach to the administration with meniscal tears and osteoarthritis.
The BusByway news report notes that the study reveals the important role physical therapists may play in helping patients understand treatment options. Physical therapy may help in the avoidance of a surgery, which can be costly and may not be the best treatment option for all patients.