Clinical practice and postoperative rehabilitation after knee arthroscopy vary according to surgeons’ expertise: a survey among polish arthroscopy society members

Background: Meniscus repair is a challenging task in knee arthroscopy. Currently, there are a variety of arthroscopic methods available for meniscus repair. The purpose of this study was to determine a consensus in meniscus tear treatment in the environment of Polish orthopaedists.

Methods: A total of 205 registered orthopaedic surgeons participated in the surveys. The survey consisted of 35 questions regarding general arthroscopy and postoperative management, including physicians’ level of expertise, anaesthesia, postoperative treatment, rehabilitation and procedures performed. Comparisons were made between knee arthroscopy experts (> 100 arthroscopies performed per year) and non-experts (≤ 100 cases) on aspects of patient care.

Results: The most important finding of this study was the agreement among almost all aspects of the knee arthroscopy approach. Consensus among Polish surgeons was noticed in choosing regional anaesthesia for knee arthroscopy, the lack of need for knee braces and knee medications, the of use of LMW heparin for thromboprophylaxis, 1-2 days of hospitalization, the recommendation of rehabilitation and the use of magnetic resonance as a diagnostic test for meniscus damage. Surgical expertise was significantly associated with the performance of meniscus suture procedures (p = 0.009). Experts recommended starting rehabilitation on the day of surgery (p = 0.007) and were more likely to use objective physical tests (p = 0.003). Non-expert surgeons recommended a longer period from meniscus suture to full-range knee motion (p = 0.001) and admitted that patient age does matter for meniscus repair qualification (p = 0.002).

Conclusions: There is consensus among almost all issues of meniscus tear treatment in the environment of Polish orthopaedists; however, the issues of rehabilitation and the use of advanced meniscus repair techniques are associated with surgical expertise.

Keywords: Knee arthroscopy; Meniscus repair; Rehabilitation; Return to sport; Surgical expertise; Survey.