Can Meniscus Surgery Increase Your Risk of Knee Arthritis?

If you’ve recently undergone meniscus surgery, you may be wondering about the long-term effects on your knee health. A study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine sheds light on this important question.

The Study: Structural Changes After Meniscus Surgery

The researchers followed a group of patients who had undergone meniscus surgery, comparing their knee health to a group that received physical therapy instead. Over an 18-month period, they used MRI scans to monitor structural changes in the participants’ knees.

The results were concerning: 60% of the meniscus surgery group showed damage to their cartilage and more advanced bone spurs, compared to only 33% in the physical therapy group.

The Implications: Increased Risk of Arthritis

The study’s conclusion suggests that meniscus surgery may be a contributing factor to the development of knee arthritis. The removal or repair of the meniscus, which acts as a shock absorber in the knee joint, can lead to increased stress on the surrounding cartilage.

Over time, this stress can cause the cartilage to break down, leading to the formation of bone spurs and the onset of osteoarthritis. The study’s findings highlight the importance of exploring alternative treatments, such as physical therapy, before resorting to surgery.

If you have undergone meniscus surgery or are considering it, it’s crucial to work closely with your orthopedic surgeon to monitor your knee health and take proactive steps to prevent the development of arthritis. Regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and using anti-inflammatory medications as needed can all help reduce the risk of post-surgical complications.

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