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An extremely common type of knee surgery, meniscal surgery, is performed to repair tears in the cartilage that acts as a shock absorber for the knee. However, researchers evaluated a number individuals who had the surgery, and those that didn't, for arthritis and cartilage loss. The results indicate that the surgery itself may pose a risk to overall knee health.
In a review of individuals with arthritis, numbering over 350 with an average age of 60, researchers found increased degradation in those that had undergone meniscal surgery. In those that had meniscal tears, all those that underwent corrective surgery developed arthritis within one year, compared to less than 60% that didn't have the surgery. Additionally, cartilage loss was found in 80% of individuals that had meniscal surgery, but identified half as frequently in those that those that didn't.
It has been suggested by researchers that meniscal surgery actually causes advanced degeneration of the knee joint leading to a loss of cartilage and the onset of arthritis. Researchers have indicated that consulting a physician to assess the risks versus the potential benefit is extremely important for candidates. Additionally, alternative therapies have been indicated including strength training, range of motion exercises, ice, and anti-inflammatory medications.