Digital Public Defence: Bjørnar Berg

MSc Bjørnar Berg at Institute of Health and Society will be defending the thesis “Long-term consequences of degenerative meniscal tears in middle-aged patients” for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

Photo: Private.

The public defence will be held as a video conference over Zoom.

The defence will follow regular procedure as far as possible, hence it will be open to the public and the audience can ask ex auditorio questions when invited to do so.

Click here to participate in the public defence

Download Zoom here

Due to copyright reasons, an electronic copy of the thesis must be ordered from the faculty. In order for the faculty to have time to process the order, it must be received by the faculty no later than 2 days prior to the public defence. Orders received later than 2 days before the defence will not be processed. Inquiries regarding the thesis after the public defence must be addressed to the candidate.

Digital Trial Lecture – time and place

See Digital Trial Lecture.

Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Professor of Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation Maria Stokes, School of Health Sciences, University of Southampton
  • Second opponent: Professor, Academic Head and Chief Surgeon Teppo Järvinen, Orthopedics and Traumatology, Dept. Orthopedics and Traumatology; University of Helsinki
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Professor Jan Erik Madsen, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Professor Jens Ivar Brox, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

Professor May Arna Risberg, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences


Degenerative meniscal tears exist in approximately every third knee of middle-aged and older individuals. The presence of a tear is an early sign of knee osteoarthritis and a strong risk factor for progression to more severe OA changes. Partial meniscectomy has been the usual treatment for symptomatic tears, but studies have shown no additional benefit compared to exercise therapy up to two years following treatment.

In this work, Berg and colleagues conducted a five-year follow-up of a randomized controlled trial comparing arthroscopic partial meniscectomy and 12 weeks of supervised exercise therapy as treatments for degenerative meniscal tears. All 140 patients had knee pain and an MR-verified degenerative meniscal tear. Ninety-seven percent did not have radiographic knee osteoarthritis at inclusion.

They found no between-group differences in progression of radiographic knee osteoarthritis changes over five years. The incidence of radiographic knee osteoarthritis was 16% in both treatment groups. Clinically relevant improvements in patient-reported pain and knee function were found following both treatments, but neither treatment was superior. Most patients had little pain and normal knee function 12 months following treatment, whereas 1 of 10 had severe pain and functional limitations over five years. Exercise therapy effectively improved knee muscle strength up to 12 months compared to arthroscopic partial meniscectomy. Further, quadriceps muscle weakness at study inclusion was identified as a risk factor for knee osteoarthritis progression over five years.

The work adds to the growing evidence of treatment effects for degenerative meniscal tears. Overall, the results support the ongoing change in treatment strategy for degenerative meniscal tears, recommending exercise therapy over surgery as the first-line treatment.

Additional information

Contact the research support staff.



Published Jan. 6, 2022 10:42 AM - Last modified Jan. 25, 2022 3:41 PM