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Aust Fam Physician. 2012 Apr;41(4):182-7.

Meniscal tear - presentation, diagnosis and management.

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School of Medicine, Sydney Campus, University of Notre Dame Australia.



Medial and lateral knee joint menisci serve to transfer load and absorb shock, aid joint stability and provide lubrication. The meniscus is the most commonly injured structure in the knee joint. Imaging techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging may be warranted but are no substitute for thorough clinical history and examination.


This article outlines the aetiology, presentation, diagnosis (both clinical and radiographic) and management of these important injuries.


Magnetic resonance imaging can confirm clinical concern for meniscal tear, review intra- and extra-articular anatomical structures and exclude alternative diagnoses. Meniscal tears can be assessed arthroscopically for stability and vascularity. Even partial meniscectomy may lead to osteoarthritis. On the basis of the findings, treatment can be considered in terms of four Rs: Rest and Rehabilitate the patient (with physiotherapy), and if the patient is not improving on Review, Refer to an orthopaedic surgeon. New experimental surgical techniques seek to replace damaged tissue. These include meniscal allograft transplantation, biosynthetic scaffolds, growth factor and gene therapy, or a combination of these.

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