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INTRODUCTION: There has been an increase in research on the effectiveness of treatment options for the management of meniscal tears. However, there is very little evidence about the patient experiences of meniscal tears. AIM: To summarise the available qualitative evidence on patients' experiences and expectations of meniscal tears. METHOD: A search of EMBASE, Medline, Sociofile and Web of Science up to November 2020 was performed to identify studies reporting patient experiences of meniscal tears. Studies were critically appraised using the CASP (Critical Appraisal Skills Program) checklist, and a meta-synthesis was performed to generate third-order constructs (new themes). RESULTS: Two studies reporting semi-structured interviews from 34 participants (24 male; 10 female) were included. The mean interview length ranged from 16 to 45 min. Five themes were generated: (1) the imaging (MRI) results are a key driver in the decision-making process, (2) surgery is perceived to be the definitive and quicker approach, (3) physiotherapy and exercise is a slower approach which brought success over time, (4) patient perceptions and preferences are important in the clinical decision-making process and, (5) the impact on patient lives is a huge driver in seeking care and treatment decisions. CONCLUSION: This is the first study to summarise the qualitative evidence on patient experiences with meniscal tears. The themes generated demonstrate the importance of patient perceptions of MRI findings and timing of treatment success as important factors in the decision-making process. This study demonstrates the need to strengthen our understanding of patients' experiences of meniscal tears.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur J Orthop Surg Traumatol

Publication Date



Meniscal tears, Meta-synthesis, Patient experiences, Qualitative studies