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Lancet reports on the safety of over 1 million arthroscopic partial meniscectomies done in the United Kingdom and found a low overall risk in the first 90 days.
They examined Hospital Episode Statistics on 1,088,782 arthroscopic partial meniscectomies (1997-2017); 699 965 of which were eligible for analysis. They sought to identify complications occurring in the 90 days after the index procedure.
Serious complications occurred in 0·327% of cases, including 546 pulmonary embolisms (0·078%) and 944 infections necessitating further surgery (0·135%).
For every 1390 fewer knee arthroscopies done, one pulmonary embolism could be prevented. For every 749 fewer procedures done, one native knee joint infection could be prevented.
Risk factors for serious complications included increasing age (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1·247 per decade [95% CI 1·208–1·288), higher modified Charlson comorbidity index (aOR 1·860 per 10 units).
Lower risks were seen in females (aOR 0·640) and risk of mortality fell over time. Serious complications, like death, myocardial infarction, and stroke occurred less frequently in the study cohort than in the general population.
The risks associated with arthroscopic meniscectomy were low, occasionally serious and have not changed with time.