Results of New Transplant Treatment for Torn MeniscusWhenever possible a torn meniscus in the knee is repaired. When damage is too great then removal and replacement is recommended. In this study 96 patients had more than half the meniscus removed. It was replaced by donor tissue called an allograft. The results of the meniscus transplants are reported here.
One-third of the transplants replaced the medial meniscus on the inside of the knee joint. Two-thirds of the replaced meniscus were from the outer half or lateral side of the joint. In some cases a torn ligament in the knee was repaired at the same time.
Overall knee function after surgery was assessed by measuring joint motion, pain, deformity, and instability. The involved knee was evaluated every year for at least two years and in some cases up to 14 years. Persistent pain and poor knee function were used to define a failed allograft.
The results showed an overall failure rate of 28 percent for the medial allografts and 16 percent for the lateral allografts. This means 70 percent of the patients still had good results 10 years after the transplant.
The group will continue to be studied for long-term results. Efforts are being made to find out what factors might predict failure. So far it looks like the level of pain before surgery may be an indicator of success or failure. Knee function and joint alignment didn't seem to affect the final result.
Peter C. M. Verdonk, MD, et al. Transplantation of Viable Meniscal Allograft. In Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. April 2005. Vol. 87-A. No. 4. Pp. 715-724.
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