Knee Surgery Linked to Higher OA Risk
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, December 10, 2014 11:53 AM

Individuals with knee pain who undergo surgery to repair meniscus cartilage tears often develop osteoarthritis in that knee within a year of the operation, researchers reported.  Incident radiographic-diagnosed osteoarthritis was observed in 31 knees that had meniscal surgery and 58.9% of the 165 knees with prevalent meniscal damage;  39.5% of 107 knees with meniscal damage and 80.8% of 21 knees that underwent surgery showed cartilage loss. Risk of cartilage loss was significantly increased for knees exhibiting any prevalent meniscal damage without surgery, and markedly further increased for knees that had surgery.

During the previous year, about 4% of the patients in the study underwent knee surgery. All of the 31 knees that showed evidence of osteoarthritis came from the group of patients that had undergone meniscus surgery -- 31 of 354 patients. Of the 354 patients who did not have surgery for their meniscus tears, none developed osteoarthritis.

"We found that in a group of patients without osteoarthritis, all knees that developed osteoarthritis within 1 year were among those patients who had meniscus surgery," he said. "We also observed that the risk for cartilage loss was much higher in patients who had knee surgery compared with those who had meniscus damage but did not have surgery.”  How surgery could cause osteoarthritis is "not clearly understood,” the author said.

"Each person should discuss the pros and cons of having meniscal surgery with his or her doctor in order to avoid accelerating the onset of osteoarthritis," he said.