I am 70 and have some arthritis in my knee. My doctor wants to do knee surgery to take out part of the meniscus. What are the chances that the surgery will help with my pain?

It depends on the extent of your arthritis. Researchers recently looked at the results of this procedure ("partial meniscectomy") for patients over 70. Before surgery, X-rays were taken to check for arthritis. Patients' arthritis was "graded" from zero to four, with zero being no arthritis.

Patients were followed-up about four years after surgery, to see how satisfied they were with their results. Patients who got grades zero, one, or two for arthritis had satisfactory results over 80 percent of the time. However, only about half of the patients with grades three to four were satisfied with their results. Nearly half of these patients had to have more surgery one to four years after the meniscectomy. And they were less likely to say they'd have the procedure again.

Patients your age can have good results from partial meniscectomy, but good results are less likely the more arthritis you have. Talk with your doctor about the extent of your arthritis. He or she can tell you whether it may affect your results from surgery.