OBJECTIVE: Analyzing the available evidence by comparing the role of arthroscopic surgery and conservative treatment in the management of degenerative meniscopathy.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A literature search was carried out on the PubMed, EMBASE, Scopus, and PEDro databases in May 2019 to identify all the randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing arthroscopic surgery to conservative management of painful but stable degenerated menisci. The quality of the RCTs was assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias Assessment.
RESULTS: A total of 10 studies, including 1525 patients and dealing with conservative treatment vs. arthroscopic surgery were included in this review. In eight studies the effectiveness of exercise therapy was compared to surgery; in one study the effectiveness of intra-articular steroid injection was compared to surgery; in one study the effectiveness of placebo surgery was compared to partial meniscectomy. In all studies, no significant inter-group difference in terms of knee pain and knee function were observed at any follow-up evaluation.
CONCLUSIONS: Degenerative meniscal tears, without symptoms of locking and catching, can be successfully managed by a proper regimen of physical therapy as a first line treatment. Surgical approach might be considered in case of poor response after conservative treatment.
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To cite this article
A. Giuffrida, A. Di Bari, E. Falzone, F. Iacono, E. Kon, M. Marcacci, R. Gatti, B. Di Matteo
Conservative vs. surgical approach for degenerative meniscal injuries: a systematic review of clinical evidence
Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci
Vol. 24 - N. 6