Midterm and long-term results after arthroscopic suture repair of isolated, longitudinal, vertical meniscal tears in stable knees

Am J Sports Med. 2006 Jul;34(7):1072-6. doi: 10.1177/0363546505284236. Epub 2006 Feb 1.


Background: The long-term outcome of meniscal suture repair has not been firmly established.

Purpose: To compare the midterm and long-term functional and radiographic outcome of meniscal suture repairs with the natural history of the uninjured knees of each of a cohort of patients.

Study design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3.

Methods: Eighty-eight patients with an isolated, longitudinal, vertical tear of one of the menisci within a stable knee were arthroscopically treated with a meniscal suture repair. No patient had a previous surgery, and no additional chondral lesion was present. The opposite knee of each patient was uninjured. Both knees of each patient were examined clinically and radiographically in a retrospective follow-up 5 to 17 years (mean, 10 years) after meniscal repair.

Results: Three patients with postoperative complications and 21 patients whose menisci had to be removed because of rerupture were excluded from further evaluation for purposes of this study. The remaining 64 patients reached a mean Tegner activity level of 6 points (range, 3-10 points) and achieved a mean Lysholm score of 94 points (range, 26-100 points). Osteoarthritis was found in 46 of the injured knees, compared with 27 of the uninjured knees (P = .004). However, 42 of the patients had no difference in the grade of osteoarthritis between the injured knee and the uninjured knee, 19 had a difference of 1 grade, 2 had a difference of 2 grades, and 1 had a difference of 3 grades.

Conclusion: Arthroscopic meniscal repair for isolated longitudinal meniscal injuries in stable knees yields favorable functional results, but its effects on the risk of secondary osteoarthritis are not clear.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arthroscopy* / adverse effects
  • Arthroscopy* / methods
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries / surgery*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Menisci, Tibial / surgery*
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / etiology
  • Sutures
  • Tibial Meniscus Injuries