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Gillogly S., Kendall C.
Atlanta Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center Atlanta, GA, USA
Arthroscopic partial meniscectomy is the standard of care for symptomatic irreparable meniscal tears. Clinical and biomechanical data support the importance of the meniscus as both a load-sharing and a load-distributing structure within the knee. Short- and long-term results of arthroscopic partial meniscectomy are excellent and the majority of patients are able to return to preinjury levels. There is, however, an increased risk of osteoarthritis with both medial and lateral partial meniscectomy and an overall decline in activity levels with time. Patients with concurrent chondral injury or significant chondromalacia perform worse than knees with normal articular cartilage. Outcomes are improved with maintenance of as much meniscal tissue as possible, especially of the peripheral meniscal rim. Anterior cruciate ligament deficiency significantly increases the risk of a poor functional result and of osteoarthritis. Type of meniscal tear, body mass index, and age do not consistently affect outcome. Athletes at all levels are likely to return to full sporting activity within 4-7 weeks after arthroscopic partial meniscectomy. Fewer of these same athletes at long-term follow-up are still participating in their sport. Functional outcomes and activity levels after arthroscopic partial meniscectomy as well as the factors that affect these outcomes are reviewed.