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Clinical Trial Summary

There are two cartilage structures in each knee joint called a meniscus. A torn meniscus can be caused by either a smaller or larger trauma or be a degenerative age-related tear. Arthroscopic meniscal surgery is the most common orthopedic procedure, but no high-quality studies have investigated the efficacy of meniscal surgery for younger patients (i.e. 40 years or younger) in comparison to non-surgical treatments. The purpose of this study is to determine if a strategy of early arthroscopic meniscal surgery (repair or resection) is superior to a strategy of initial individualized supervised exercise therapy including patient education with the option of later surgery if needed in improving pain, function and quality of life in young patients (18-40 years) with meniscal tears. The hypothesis is that patients treated with early arthroscopic meniscal surgery will improve more than patients treated with exercise and education.


Clinical Trial Description

Arthroscopic meniscal surgery is the most common orthopedic procedure. In Denmark, meniscal surgeries have doubled from around 9.000 yearly procedures in 2000 to more than 17.000 in 2011, with the total number of meniscal surgeries exceeding 150.000 in this period. Similar trends have been observed in the US, where more than 700.000 orthopedic procedures are carried out annually. Numerous randomized controlled trials (RCT) have investigated the efficacy of meniscal surgery compared with placebo surgery, in addition to non-surgical treatment and in direct comparison to exercise in middle-aged and older patients. However, no RCTs have investigated the efficacy of meniscal surgery for younger patients (i.e. 40 years or younger) in comparison to non-surgical treatments. In contrast to middle-aged and older adults with degenerative meniscal tears of unknown origin, most tears in younger adults (18-40 years) are of traumatic origin (i.e. such as a sports related trauma), which highlights the need for a high-quality trial in the younger population. The aim of this RCT is to investigate if early arthroscopic meniscal surgery (repair or resection) is superior to individualized supervised exercise therapy and education, with the option of later surgery if needed, in improving pain, function and quality of life in young patients (18-40 years) with meniscal tears. The study hypothesis is that patients randomized to surgery will improve significantly more in pain, function and quality of life after 12 months than those randomized to exercise and education. Patients fulfilling eligibility criteria and willing to participate in the study will be randomized to one of the two groups after the baseline assessment with follow-up after 3, 6 and 12 months. 1. Arthroscopic meniscal surgery: Arthroscopic meniscal repair or resection will be conducted at the discretion of the operating surgeon (this cannot be determined before the surgeon has visual confirmation about the exact knee pathology and extend of the meniscal tear by scope). After surgery, patients will receive the standard rehabilitation in the postoperative period depending of type of surgery, since this differs for patients who have had resection and repair. A standard folder with exercises will be given to those having a partial meniscectomy to ensure a minimum level of rehabilitation after the surgery across the hospitals. 2. Exercise therapy and patient education: Patients allocated to exercise therapy and education will participate in a 12-week (2 exercise sessions per week) supervised neuromuscular and strengthening exercise program tailored to 18-40 years old patients with a meniscal tear. Furthermore, they will participate in a patient education program developed through interviews with pilot study participants, from our experiences from the Good Life with osteoArthritis in Denmark (GLA:D) program for patients with knee and hip pain. Both the exercise and education will take place in a number of private physiotherapy clinics associated with the GLA:D program, specifically trained to supervise and lead the treatment in this study. A similar exercise program and educational program have been shown to be effective in improving pain, function and quality of life in patients with other types of knee injuries and knee pain. Observational cohort: Patients fulfilling all eligibility but unwilling to participate in the randomized study and patients 18-40 years of age with a clinical history and symptoms consistent with a meniscal tear that does not fulfill the other criteria are asked to participate in an observational cohort with the same questionnaires as in the RCT, but following usual clinical practice. ;


Study Design


Related Conditions & MeSH terms


NCT number NCT02995551
Study type Interventional
Source University of Southern Denmark
Contact
Status Active, not recruiting
Phase N/A
Start date January 2017
Completion date April 2022

See also
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