Epidemiology of Meniscus Injuries in the Military Health System and Predictive Factors for Arthroscopic Surgery.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Meniscus injuries occur at a higher rate in the military than the general population. Appropriate management and rehabilitation of meniscus injuries is important for maintaining readiness. The purpose of this study was to describe the health burden of meniscus injuries in the Military Health System (MHS) to identify the surgical intervention rate for meniscus injuries, and to determine which injury characteristics and demographic variables were associated with the likelihood of surgery after injury. The U.S. Department of Defense Management Analysis and Reporting Tool, a database of health care encounters by military personnel and dependents, was queried for encounters associated with a meniscal injury diagnosis between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2011. Meniscus injuries were categorized into (1) isolated medial, (2) isolated lateral, (3) combined medial and lateral, and (4) unspecified cohorts. Patients under 18 and over 51 years were excluded, as well as patients without records at least 1 year prior to diagnosis or 2 years after. Relevant surgical procedures were identified with the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes for arthroscopic surgery of the knee, meniscus repair, meniscectomy, and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction. There were 2,969 meniscus injuries meeting inclusion criteria during the study period. There were 1,547 (52.1%) isolated medial meniscus injuries, 530 (17.9%) isolated lateral meniscus injuries, 452 (15.3%) involved both menisci, and 435 (14.7%) were unspecified. The mean age was 35.5 years (standard deviation [SD] = 9.3). An adjacent ligamentous injury occurred in 901 patients (30.3%). The treatment course led to arthroscopic surgery in 52.8% (n = 1,568) of all meniscus injuries. Eighty-five percent (n = 385) of combined medial and lateral tears, 54.9% of medial tears, and 51.6% of lateral tears underwent surgery. Partial meniscectomy was the most common procedure performed while 47.2% (n = 1,401) of tears were not treated surgically. Bilateral meniscus injuries had 4.57 greater odds of undergoing knee arthroscopy (95% confidence interval [CI]: 3.46, 6.04), 2.42 times odds of undergoing a meniscus repair, and 4.59 times odds for undergoing a meniscus debridement (95% CI: 3.62, 5.82). The closed nature of the MHS allows reliable capture of surgical rates for meniscus injuries within the military population. Meniscus injuries are common in the military and impose a significant burden on the MHS. Appropriate management and rehabilitation of this injury is important for maintaining readiness.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Tropf, JG; Colantonio, DF; Tucker, CJ; Rhon, DI

Published Date

  • August 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 35 / 10

Start / End Page

  • 1048 - 1055

PubMed ID

  • 35259766

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1938-2480

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1055/s-0042-1744189


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Germany