Arthroscopic partial meniscectomy (APM) is one of the most common orthopaedic procedures. Although a number of important clinical studies were unable to demonstrate superiority of this procedure over non-surgical alternatives and even sham surgery, the decline in the frequency of this procedure is less than expected.
To understand why, a Dutch research team examined the ability of surgeons to predict the outcome of treatment for meniscal tears by APM and non-surgical therapy in middle-aged patients.
As part of their study, 194 orthopaedic surgeons were asked to make 3880 predictions. The group found that regardless of the surgeons experience, only 50% of the predictions were correct, which equals the proportion expected by chance.
These results suggest that non-surgical management of middle-aged patients with symptomatic, non-obstructive meniscal tears is appropriate as first-line therapy.