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Child Orthopedics
Spine - Cervical
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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I've heard that a cartilage tear of the knee isn't as bad as it used to be. They can be repaired rather than removed with less damage to the joint later. Does it matter which side of the joint the tear is on?

The meniscus in the knee joint is divided into two parts. Both are horseshoe or C-shaped and present on the inner and outer sides of the joint. The inner half is called the medical meniscus. The outer half is called the lateral meniscus.

In the past studies showed worse results with medial meniscal tears. But a recent review of 25 studies done between 1966 and 2003 showed only one out of six studies support this finding. Overall there were no big differences in the X-rays or patient function after either type of meniscectomy.

It looks like other factors are more important than which side was injured. For example, women have a higher rate of arthritic changes after damage to the meniscus. The amount of damage to the meniscus also makes a difference. A severe tear has a poorer result than a minor tear.

Finally, arthritic changes that are present in the joint before the tear are also linked with worse results later. X-ray studies before and after meniscal repair have brought this finding to light.


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