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Key-Hole Surgery for Knee Injury Doesn't Lower Arthritis Risk

Arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn ligament or injured cartilage doesn't prevent joint disease, study shows

TUESDAY, June 29, 2010 (HealthDay News) -- Arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or meniscal cartilage injury in the knee does not reduce the risk of developing osteoarthritis later, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed data from 326 patients who were examined and treated for knee injuries in 1996 and 1997. A decade after the injuries were diagnosed, localized knee osteoarthritis (OA) was evident in the patients, regardless of whether or not they'd had surgery to repair their injuries.

The findings appear online June 29 and in the August print issue of the journal Radiology.

"This study proves that meniscal and cruciate ligament lesions increase the risk of developing specific types of knee osteoarthritis. Surgical therapy does not decrease that risk," study author Dr. Kasper Huetink, a resident radiologist at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, said in a journal news release.

Further research is needed to investigate the short- and long-term effects of different types of surgical repair of ACL or meniscal cartilage injuries, Huetink noted.

More than 9 million Americans have knee OA, which typically develops over several years. Symptoms include pain, stiffness, swelling and decreased knee mobility.

More information

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has more about knee OA.

SOURCE: Radiology, June 29, 2010, news release.
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