Arthroscopic partial meniscectomy (APM) surgery was as effective as physical therapy in patients with degenerative knees and a confirmed meniscal tear that was non-obstructive, according to a multicenter study presented at the EFORT Annual Congress, held recently in Barcelona, Spain.

Victor A. van de Graaf, MD, Rudolf W. Poolman, MD, PhD, and colleagues at OLVG Ziekenhuis in Amsterdam conducted the study at six hospitals in the Netherlands.

Participating patients were consented and then randomized 1:1 to receive either APM or physical therapy. They ware also separated by age into two groups: ages 45 to 57 years, or ages 58 to 70 years.

The mean improvement in the IKDC score from baseline to the 24-month follow-up was the primary outcome, results of which were more favorable for the APM group.

“In both groups, over 80% comprised of complex and horizontal meniscal tears,” van de Graaf says, in a media release from Healio.

In discussing some of the analytical findings, he notes that both groups improved by at least 50% in knee function during follow-up.

The study abstract listed mean differences in IKDC scores between groups at follow-ups that occurred at 3, 6, 12 and 24 months and noted all the differences favored surgery, the release continues.

“The physical therapy is a valuable alternative to APM in most patients. The results of this trial warrant to further limit APM from the guidelines,” van de Graaf adds.

“Finally, I think it is important that future research should focus on and identify several patients who did not benefit from physical therapy. They were the patients who received late APM.”

The study, according to the release, received the EFORT Gold Orthopedics Free Paper Award, which designated it as the best one in the orthopedics category at the congress.

[Source: Healio]