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Knee Surgery May Increase the Risk of Arthritis

A knee surgery may increase the risk of arthritis according to a recent study.

Heidi Smith, Capital OTC, Dec 4, 2014

The surgery involves tear repairs in the meniscus, a cartilage that serves as an impact absorber. There are two menisci in each knee which serve in stabilizing the knee joint.

Researchers claim that tears in the meniscus are one of most regular injuries of the knee and surgery is usually performed in order to improve the function of the join and reduce pain.

Frank W. Roemer, M.D., at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Erlangen in Germany and the Boston University of Medicine in Boston said:

“Meniscal surgery is one of the most common orthopedic procedures performed to alleviate pain and improve joint function. However, increasing evidence is emerging that suggests meniscal surgery may be detrimental to the knee joint.”

In the study that shows how knee surgery may increase the risk of arthritis, Dr. Roemer and his team made use of MRI scans in order to analyze 355 knees suffering from arthritis and compared those cases to a matching number of knees without arthritis. The age of the patients was an average of 60 and most of the patients were also overweight. 31 of all the knees underwent surgery in the year before the arthritis diagnosis, and 280 of them showed indications of meniscal damage on the MRI but did not go under surgery. There were also control cases as part of the overall analysis that showed no damage to the meniscus.

All of the 31 knees that went under surgery during the prior year developed osteoarthritis when compared to the 165 (59 percent) knees with damage to the meniscus that did not undergo surgery. Furthermore, loss of cartilage was much more present among knees that had gone under surgery: 80.8 percent of them indicated cartilage loss, compared to only 39.5 percent of knees with damage to the meniscus that did not go under surgery.

“We found that patients without knee osteoarthritis who underwent meniscal surgery had a highly increased risk for developing osteoarthritis and cartilage loss in the following year compared to those that did not have surgery, regardless of presence or absence of a meniscal tear in the year before. The indications for meniscal surgery might need to be discussed more carefully in order to avoid accelerated knee joint degeneration,”

Dr. Roemer said.

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