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Study Evaluates Surgical Procedures For Meniscus Tear

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Meniscus tear is a knee injury that is common among football players, causing the joint to become swollen and painful. A new study offers an insight into the outcomes of two different surgical procedures that can be used to treat the injury. Sometimes, RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation – may be all that´s needed for meniscus tear, together with anti-inflammatories for the pain. But if the knee is locking, the pain can be eased with minimally-invasive keyhole surgery called arthroscopy.

Researchers examined data on 90 elite football players who were given either an isolated partial lateral or medial meniscectomy after suffering a meniscus tear. They measured the success of the surgery against factors such as time to return to pre-injury level of competition, the incidence of adverse events during early recovery and the need for further arthroscopy. The study showed that players who underwent medial meniscectomy returned to play sooner, had fewer setbacks in their recovery and were less likely to need additional arthroscopic procedures compared with those who underwent lateral meniscectomy. The medial group returned to play after approximately five weeks, compared with approximately seven weeks for the lateral group. Moreover, the probability of return to play was 5.99 times greater after medial meniscectomy.

It was also found that players who underwent lateral meniscectomy experienced more pain and/or swelling and more frequently required a second arthroscopy than those in the medial group. These findings should be taken into account and discussed with player and club before lateral meniscectomy is performed in elite soccer athletes, the researchers concluded.