The critical role that the meniscus plays in the knee along with the advantages of preserving as much of the meniscus as possible have both been well documented. Whenever possible, meniscus repair has become the procedure of choice for treatment of meniscal tears. However, some researchers have reported less favorable results in older patients. To determine the results of meniscus repair in older patients, patients 40 years and older who underwent arthroscopically assisted meniscus repair were prospectively followed up. Thirty-seven patients were included in the study, all of which had a minimum 2-year follow-up (average, 26.5 months). The average age of the patients at the time of the repair was 44.2 years (range, 40 to 52 years); 26 were males and 11 were females. There were 19 left knees and 18 right knees included in the study. Twenty-two patients had associated anterior cruciate ligament reconstructions. Physical examination at follow-up included swelling, joint line tenderness, locking, and McMurray testing and radiographs. Five of 37 menisci repaired (13.5%) were symptomatic at latest follow-up. All of these patients had joint line tenderness and two had a positive McMurray test. Three of these patients had repeat arthroscopy confirming that the meniscus had not healed. Because of the small number of patients with symptoms at follow-up, the authors feel that meniscus repair in patients 40 years and older is an effective treatment for peripherally located meniscus tears. With 86.5% of the patients having good clinical results, these findings are comparable with other studies with a younger population and signify that repair of peripheral tears is indicated in this age group especially in conjunction with anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. The findings suggest that the location and meniscal tear, rather than the age of the patient, determine the potential for successful repair.
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