OBJECTIVE: To determine prevalence, incidence and progression of radiographic knee osteoarthritis (OA) in a cohort of subjects with previous meniscectomy.
METHODS: We assessed 221 subjects (177 men and 44 women) with weight bearing knee radiography twice (assessment A and B) with a follow-up time ranging from 4 to 10 years. All subjects had undergone meniscectomy 15-22 years before assessment A. At assessment B the mean (SD) age was 60 (11) years. We assessed prevalence and incidence of OA, as well as progression of radiographic features over time. Radiographic OA was defined as approximating Kellgren and Lawrence grade 2 or worse.
RESULTS: At assessment A, we found tibiofemoral radiographic OA in 107 subjects' index knee (48%) of which 41 subjects (38%) had bilateral tibiofemoral OA. At assessment B, the corresponding figures were 151 (68%) and 71 (32%). At assessment A, we found patellofemoral OA in 32 subjects' index knee (14%) of which 11 (34%) had bilateral patellofemoral OA. At assessment B, the corresponding figures were 51 (23%) and 19 (37%). There was an increase of the sum of joint space narrowing (JSN) and osteophyte grades in the tibiofemoral joint of 144 subjects' index knee (64%) and in the contralateral tibiofemoral joints of 79 subjects (36%). The corresponding progression in the patellofemoral joint was observed in 66 index knees (30%) and in 41 (19%) contralateral knees.
CONCLUSIONS: Overall, some 20-30 years after meniscectomy nearly three out of four persons had developed radiographic tibiofemoral OA and one out of four had developed patellofemoral OA.