Current Controversies in Arthroscopic Partial Meniscectomy

Amanda Avila, Kinjal Vasavada, Dhruv S. Shankar, Massimo Petrera, Laith M. Jazrawi, Eric J. Strauss

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: Given the continued controversy among orthopedic surgeons regarding the indications and benefits of arthroscopic partial meniscectomy (APM), this review summarizes the current literature, indications, and outcomes of partial meniscectomy to treat symptomatic meniscal tears. Recent Findings: In patients with symptomatic meniscal tears, the location and tear pattern play a vital role in clinical management. Tears in the central white-white zone are less amenable to repair due to poor vascularity. Patients may be indicated for APM or non-surgical intervention depending on the tear pattern and symptoms. Non-surgical management for meniscal pathology includes non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), physical therapy (PT), and intraarticular injections to reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms. There have been several landmark multicenter randomized controlled trials (RCTs) studying the outcomes of APM compared to PT or sham surgery in symptomatic degenerative meniscal tears. These most notably include the 2013 Meniscal Tear in Osteoarthritis Research (MeTeOR) Trial, the 2018 ESCAPE trial, and the sham surgery-controlled Finnish Degenerative Meniscal Lesion Study (FIDELITY), which failed to identify substantial benefits of APM over nonoperative treatment or even placebo surgery. Summary: Despite an abundance of literature exploring outcomes of APM for degenerative meniscus tears, there is little consensus among surgeons about the drivers of good outcomes following APM. It is often difficult to determine if the presenting symptoms are secondary to the meniscus pathology or the degenerative disease in patients with concomitant OA. A central tenet of managing meniscal pathology is to preserve tissue whenever possible. Most RCTs show that exercise therapy may be non-inferior to APM in degenerative tears if repair is not possible. Given this evidence, patients who fail nonoperative treatment should be counseled regarding the risks of APM before proceeding to surgical management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)336-343
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Arthroscopic partial meniscectomy
  • Degenerative tear
  • Meniscal tear
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Physical therapy
  • Sham surgery
  • Traumatic tear


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