Efficacy of Anti-inflammatory Treatment Versus Rescue Analgesia After Arthroscopic Partial Meniscectomy in Nonarthritic Knees: A 3-Arm Controlled Study

Amir Dolev, Lee Yaari, Mohamed Kittani, Mustafa Yassin, Mahmod Gbaren, Elia Feicht, Shai Shemesh, Barak Haviv*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: There is currently no consensus regarding the appropriate treatment for postoperative pain after arthroscopic partial meniscectomy (APM). Prescribing a mild non–anti-inflammatory protocol of rescue analgesia may be sufficient to avoid the side effects of opioids or anti-inflammatories. Purpose/Hypothesis: The purpose was to compare the efficacy of pain reduction after APM in nonarthritic knees using betamethasone or celecoxib as anti-inflammatory analgesics versus acetaminophen or tramadol as rescue analgesics. The hypothesis was that there is no advantage for anti-inflammatories in achieving postoperative immediate pain relief after APM in nonarthritic knees compared with a simple nonopioid treatment. Study Design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 2. Methods: This 3-arm controlled study evaluated postoperative pain levels and analgesic consumption in patients who underwent primary APM (under general anesthesia) at a single institution from December 2018 to December 2019. Patients were prospectively divided into 3 treatment groups: (1) betamethasone injection at the end of the procedure, (2) oral celecoxib prescription, or (3) neither treatment (control). All groups were instructed to take supplementary acetaminophen as needed. Patients were also allowed to take tramadol as needed to evaluate the need for opioids. At postoperative weeks 1, 2, and 3, patients completed the Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) Pain subscale, and results were compared between time points and groups. Results: A total of 99 patients were included in the treatment groups: betamethasone group (32 patients), celecoxib group (30 patients), and control group (37 patients). At baseline, there were no statistically significant differences between the groups in age, sex, body mass index, level of activity, comorbidities, or surgical findings. KOOS Pain scores improved at every time point for all 3 groups (P <.001), and no differences in scores were observed among groups. The consumption of acetaminophen or tramadol as rescue analgesia throughout the follow-up period was negligible among groups. Conclusion: During the first 3 postoperative weeks after APM in nonarthritic knees, pain was efficiently controlled by betamethasone or celecoxib; however, pain was also efficiently controlled by minimal consumption of acetaminophen with negligible use of tramadol. Therefore, acetaminophen could be prescribed as an effective first-line postoperative analgesic after APM.

Original languageEnglish
JournalOrthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021


  • NSAIDs
  • arthroscopy
  • meniscectomy
  • pain
  • steroids


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