The DREAM Study

Danish Rct on Exercise versus Arthroscopic Meniscal surgery for young adults.

Primary investigator

Søren Thorgaard Skou,1,2

Senior researcher

Jonas Bloch Thorlund,1

Study members

Martin Lind,3, Per Hölmich,4, Hans Peter Jensen,5, Carsten Jensen,6, Muhammad Afzal,7, Uffe Jørgensen,8


  1. Research Unit for Musculoskeletal Function and Physiotherapy, Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.
  2. Department of Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy, Næstved-Slagelse-Ringsted Hospitals, Denmark, Region Zealand, Slagelse, Denmark
  3. Department of Sports Traumatology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark
  4. Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Copenhagen University Hospital, Amager-Hvidovre, Copenhagen, Denmark
  5. Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Aalborg University Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark
  6. Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Lillebælt Hospital in Kolding, Kolding, Denmark
  7. Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Næstved Hospital, Næstved, Denmark
  8. Department of Orthopedics and Traumatology, Odense University Hospital, Denmark

About the study/project

This is a multicentre, parallel-group randomised controlled trial conducted at six hospitals across all five healthcare regions in Denmark. 140 patients aged 18–40 years with a clinical history and symptoms consistent with a meniscal tear, verified on MRI, found eligible for meniscal surgery by an orthopaedic surgeon will be randomly allocated to one of two groups (1:1 ratio). Participants randomised to surgery will undergo either arthroscopic partial meniscectomy or meniscal repair followed by standard postsurgical care, while participants allocated to exercise and education will undergo a 12-week individualised, supervised neuromuscular and strengthening exercise programme and patient education. The primary outcome will be difference in change from baseline to 12 months in the mean score on four Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score subscales, covering pain, symptoms, function in sports and recreation and quality of life (Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS4)) supported by the individual subscale scores allowing clinical interpretation. Alongside, the RCT an observational cohort will follow patients aged 18–40 years with clinical suspicion of a meniscal tear, but not fully eligible or declining to participate in the trial.

Purpose of the study/project

The purpose of this study is to determine if a strategy of early arthroscopic meniscal surgery (repair or resection) is superior to a strategy of initial individualized supervised exercise therapy including patient education with the option of later surgery if needed in improving pain, function and quality of life in young patients (18-40 years) with meniscal tears. Identifier


Responsible editor