New York: A popular knee surgery to repair meniscal tears may increase the risk of osteoarthritis and cartilage loss in some patients, a new research says.
The new study focused on the meniscus, a wedge-shaped piece of cartilage in the knee that acts as a shock absorber between the thigh bone and shin bone.
The two menisci in each knee also play an important role in joint stability.
Meniscal tears are among the most common knee injuries and surgery is often performed to alleviate pain.
"However, increasing evidence is emerging that suggests meniscal surgery may be detrimental to the knee joint," said Frank W. Roemer from Boston University's School of Medicine in the US.
For the study, Roemer and colleagues examined data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative - a large, ongoing observational study of knee osteoarthritis incidence and progression.
Patients in the study were 60.2 years old on average and predominantly overweight.
The researchers studied magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examinations of 355 knees that developed osteoarthritis during a five-year period and a control group.
"We found that patients without knee osteoarthritis who underwent meniscal surgery had a highly increased risk of 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," Roemer added.
An alternative to surgery is conservative management.
In conservative management, physical therapy is prescribed to help maintain and restore muscle strength and a range of motions.
Symptoms are commonly treated with ice and non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medications.
The research was presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).