The role of meniscal tissue in joint protection in early osteoarthritis.
It is widely accepted that partial meniscectomy leads to early onset of osteoarthritis (OA). A strong correlation exists between the amount and location of the resected meniscus and the development of degenerative changes in the knee. On the other hand, osteoarthritic changes of the joint alter the structural and functional integrity of meniscal tissue. These alterations might additionally compromise the limited healing capacity of the meniscus. In young, active patients without cartilage damage, meniscus therapy including partial meniscectomy, meniscus suture, and meniscus replacement has proven beneficial effects in long-term studies. Even in an early osteoarthritic milieu, there is a relevant regenerative potential of the meniscus and the surrounding cartilage. This potential should be taken into account, and meniscal surgery can be performed with the correct timing and the proper indication even in the presence of early OA.