Treatment of partial meniscal tears identified during anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction with limited synovial abrasion

Arthroscopy. Jan-Feb 2000;16(1):6-10. doi: 10.1016/s0749-8063(00)90120-8.


This is a retrospective review of the results of 40 patients with 44 partial stable meniscal tears who were treated with parameniscal synovial abrasion at the time of anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. There were 19 medial meniscal (MM) tears and 25 lateral meniscal (LM) tears. Meniscal tear morphology included 33 single longitudinal tears (18 MM, 15 LM), 10 double longitudinal tears (1 MM, 9 LM), and 1 radial tear (LM). All 44 tears were located in the posterior horn or posterior junction of the meniscus. Rim width was </=3 mm in 29 and >3 mm in 15 tears. In this study, failure was defined as a symptomatic meniscal tear requiring subsequent surgery. The overall failure rate at an average follow-up of 3.3 years was 11% (5 of 44). Four failures occurred in the MM (21% of total MM tears) and 1 failure occurred in the LM (4% of total LM tears). The median time to failure was 12 months with 3 of 5 failures occurring secondary to a significant reinjury. We looked at the effect of 8 factors on overall failure rate. Although statistical validity was not established in this small patient population, we did observe a higher failure rate for stable MM tears. Our study supports the small amount of literature that shows a high clinical success rate with observation of stable LM tears identified at the time of anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. However, the much higher failure rate of stable MM tears raises concern. This difference is explained by biomechanical and clinical studies showing that the MM develops higher stresses than the LM with loading. Based on this work, we believe that stable longitudinal MM tears have a higher propensity to fail over time by propagation of the tear and are better managed with meniscal repair.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / pathology
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / surgery*
  • Arthroscopy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries / pathology
  • Knee Injuries / surgery*
  • Male
  • Menisci, Tibial / pathology
  • Menisci, Tibial / surgery
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rupture
  • Synovectomy
  • Synovial Membrane / injuries*
  • Synovial Membrane / pathology
  • Tibial Meniscus Injuries*
  • Treatment Outcome