Q. My girlfriend had meniscus surgery. What is its probability to get worse in the future?

Answered by
Dr. Satyajit Jalinder Pawar
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jun 11, 2021

Hi doctor,

I am trying to make an informed decision about my girlfriend before marriage. She had meniscus surgery. I have attached the diagnosis report (before the surgery). It has been six months since the surgery, and everything seems to be alright now. Please study the document and respond to my questions accordingly. How bad is this situation? She looks fine at present. Do you think that it will continue to be this good? In percentage 0 to 100, what is the probability that the situation will worsen in the future? In case it gets worse, do you think that this knee can sustain another surgery?



Welcome to icliniq.com.

I have gone through your query and looked at the reports (attachment removed to protect the patient's identity) you have provided in detail.

Based on the radiology report, she had a complex bucket handle tear of the lateral meniscus with posterior root avulsion. And as you have mentioned, after six months, everything looks all right, so I will assume that she is back to her pre-injury activity.

Outcome after meniscus repair depends on:

1) Type of surgery (repair or excision).

2) Route of surgery (open or arthroscopic).

3) Nature of recovery (complete or partial).

4) Cause of tear (trauma or degeneration).

5) Amount of meniscus removed.

6) Other factors like age and general condition.

In her case, she must have gone through arthroscopic surgery. Based on the amount of damage suggested with the help of MRI, I am assuming that she required excision of the meniscus. If you can provide me with that details, I can give a more accurate estimation. Her recovery is complete, she is young, and tears must be post-traumatic. These are good factors.

Based on research, there is a 10 to 15% chance of having recurrent symptoms such as pain, difficulty in knee movements at the end of six years. According to the research, as she is young and fit, she should have an 85 to 90% chance of being symptoms-free over the long term.

And if the situation gets worse over the long term, usually that needs non-surgical management as it becomes more chronic and degenerative damage where conservative management is preferred.

I would suggest you consult with the surgeon who operated on her knee to answer these questions as he has seen directly the amount of damage that happened, and he knows the type of surgery done. In addition, he has seen her pre-surgical condition as well as post-surgery recovery. So his estimate will be more precise.

I would be happy to help you further if you have any other questions.

Thank you.

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