Scand J Surg. 2004; 93: 229-33.

Primary cartilage lesions of the knee joint in young male adults. Overweight as a predisposing factor. An arthroscopic study.

Eskelinen A, Visuri T, Larni H, Ritsilä V.

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: This study was undertaken to evaluate the relationship between overweight and severity of arthroscopically confirmed primary cartilage lesions of the knee.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: The hospital records of 88 young male adults (98 knees), who underwent arthroscopy of the knee and were diagnosed of primary cartilage lesion during 1997-98, were reviewed. The depth of the lesions was graded according to Beguin and Locker classification.

RESULTS: 73.5 % of the lesions were patellar and 12.0 % in the medial condyle of the femur. 74.5 % of the patients had superficial (grade I-II) and 25.5 % deep (grade III-IV) lesions. Patients with deep lesions had a significantly higher body mass index (BMI 25.3 vs. 22.9, p < 0.001) and they were older (20.8 vs. 19.7 years, p = 0.023) than other patients. Similarly, patients with overweight (BMI > or = 25.0) had significantly more often deep lesions than other patients (50 % vs. 10.4 %, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest, that overweight may predispose young patients to more severe cartilage lesions independent of other etiologic factors, and support the hypothesis of the cumulative effect of overweight on cartilage injuries during early adult life.

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