Young patients who underwent surgery for isolated meniscus tears between 1990 and 2005 showed positive long-term clinical results, according to new research presented today at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's Annual Meeting in San Diego. The study represents one of the largest long-term follow-up cohorts describing clinical outcomes of meniscus repair in pediatric patients to date.
"The patients we observed at a long-term follow up had an average IKDC score of 92.3, continuing increases from the pre-operative average of 65.3 and mid-term average of 90.2," noted corresponding author Aaron Krych, MD, from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. "These numbers show a significant, lasting improvement in functional outcomes for those involved in this study."
Researchers examined 32 patients (and 33 knees) at an average follow-up of 17.6 years after surgery. At the time of repair, the average age of patients was 16.1 years. Of the 33 knees included in the study, none had a failed repair since the previous follow-up in 2008. The average Tenger activity score was 6.53, lower than pre-operative 8.33 and mid-term scores of 8.39, though the authors indicated decreasing sports activity with age may be an independent risk factor and not indicative of poorer surgical outcomes.
"Finding the best treatment options for these meniscus tears is important not only to the patient's immediate recovery, but for long-term health and wellness," commented Krych. "Our research team believes the data from this study shows the promise of surgery for young patients with these types of injuries."
Limitations of the work include no MRI data or radiograph images available, and a relatively small patient population despite being one of the largest group studied. Future studies to assess the progression of knee osteoarthritis are recommended.
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