The purpose of this study was to prospectively evaluate the results of meniscal transplantation in a consecutive series of younger patients treated for pain in the tibiofemoral compartment following a previous meniscectomy.
Forty cryopreserved menisci were implanted into thirty-eight patients. Sixteen knees also had an osteochondral autograft transfer, and nine had a knee ligament reconstruction. The clinical outcome and failure rate of all transplants were evaluated at a mean of forty months postoperatively. Meniscal allograft characteristics were determined with use of a rating system that combined subjective, clinical, and magnetic resonance imaging factors.
Thirty-four (89%) of the thirty-eight patients rated the knee condition as improved. Before surgery, thirty patients (79%) had pain with daily activities, but only four (11%) had such pain at the time of the latest follow-up. While noteworthy pain was present in the tibiofemoral compartment in all forty knees before surgery, twenty-seven knees (68%) had no pain and thirteen (33%) had only mild compartment pain at the time of the latest follow-up. Twenty-nine patients (76%) returned to light low-impact sports without problems. Concomitant osteochondral autograft transfer and knee ligament reconstruction procedures improved knee function and did not increase the rate of complications. Meniscal allograft characteristics were normal in seventeen knees (43%), altered in twelve (30%), and failed in eleven (28%).
The short-term results of meniscal transplantation are encouraging in terms of reducing knee pain and increasing function; however, long-term transplant function and any chondroprotective effects remain unknown and require further investigation.
The authors did not receive grants or outside funding in support of their research or preparation of this manuscript. They did not receive payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, educational institution, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors are affiliated or associated.
The line drawings in this article are the work of Joanne Haderer Müller of Haderer & Müller ().
Investigation performed at Cincinnati Sportsmedicine and Orthopaedic Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
The original scientific article in which the surgical technique was presented was published in JBJS Vol. 86-A, pp. 1392-1404, July 2004
- Copyright © 2005 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
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