Dr. Frank Roemer, M.D. of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany conducted recent studies of 355 patients suffering from arthritis in at least one of their knees.  He compared MRI studies of those patients' knees with MRI studies of 355 patients without arthritis in their knees and discovered that every one of the 31 patients who had surgery developed arthritis within one year.  There were 280 additional patients in the study that showed evidence of meniscal damage on MRI but did not have surgery.  Of these, only 165 developed arthritis one year later.  In addition, loss of cartilage was much higher in knees that had surgery.  In the 31 patients that had surgery, 80.8% of them had cartilage loss, comparied to only 39.5% of the knees that did not undergo surgery.  Dr. Roemer states that patients without arthritis who receive surgery on a meniscus in their knee are at a high risk of developing arthritis and cartilage loss within one year, regardless of whether they had a meniscal tear in the year before.  Patients should be aware of this potential risk, but more research is necessary to determine the possible outcomes for the majority of patients with arthritic knees.

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