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Sports Medicine

Chondral thinning and MM tear



My MRI showed focal chondral thinning involving the medial facet of the patella extending over an area of 4 mm. There is also degenerative horizontal tear of the posterior horn and body of the medial meniscus, Mild chondral irregularity of the MFC and medial tibia plateau but no focal full thickness chondral loss, subchondral marrow oedema or cystic change. What does this mean and do I really need arthroscopy as advised by my doctor? Is there any other alternative?


Your MRI results show wear and tear changes and degenerative tears of the cartilage in the knee as well as the cartilage linings of the kneecap.  There are arthritic changes noted of the bones underlying the cartilage.  Arthroscopy is used in this situation to further evaluate the extent of the injury and to determine if repair of the areas can decrease your symptoms.  Regarding whether the surgery is needed, NetWellness is not a forum for obtaining a second opinion regarding another physician's evaluation.  This occurs because we cannot examine you nor do we have a doctor patient relationship with you.  There are other alternatives to the treatment of arthritis, including injection of synvisc into the joint, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy and exercise.  However, your physician is best suited to instruct you in the best course of action for your specific condition.  I hope this helps.

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Response by:

Charles Webster, MD
Assistant Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati