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Meniscal tears with concomitant osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee are a common source of pain and disability in the United States, and over 300,000 surgeries are performed each year to address this complaint.

Observational studies suggest that arthroscopic partial meniscectomy (APM) relieves symptoms and improves functional status, but the question of whether patients receiving surgical therapy (APM) have a better response than those receiving nonoperative therapy (physical therapy with medication) remains. The Meniscal Tear in Osteoarthritis Research (MeTeOR) study aims to fill this gap in current research.

Jeffrey N. Katz, MD, MS, director of the Orthopedic and Arthritis Center of Outcomes Research (OrACORe), along with a team of investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and six other centers across the US, was awarded a $2.5 million dollar grant from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) to lead a multicenter, randomized controlled trial to compare these two approaches.

The MeTeOR trial recruited and randomized 351 patients with both a meniscal tear and knee OA to receive either APM (including post-operative physical therapy) or non-operative treatment (intensive physical therapy with medications). Enrollment began in May 2008, concluded in August 2011, and occurred across seven clinical sites:
Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston, MA)
Hospital for Special Surgery (New York, NY)
Cleveland Clinic (Cleveland, OH)
Vanderbilt Medical Center (Nashville, TN)
Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN)
Rush University (Chicago, IL)
Washington University (St. Louis, MO)

All subjects completed 18 months of survey and imaging follow-up. Subjects enrolled at six of the seven centers (all excluding Rush University) completed additional survey and imaging follow-up out to five years post-randomization. The OrACORe team is currently preparing for a final 12-year follow-up of these participants, which will include medical record review, a questionnaire, MRI and x-ray imaging, and physical performance tests. Recruitment of follow-up participants is projected to begin in spring 2021.

For more details on the MeTeOR trial, please visit our study page at ClinicalTrials.gov.

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