Meniscal repair versus partial meniscectomy: a systematic review comparing reoperation rates and clinical outcomes

Arthroscopy. 2011 Sep;27(9):1275-88. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2011.03.088. Epub 2011 Aug 6.


Purpose: The aim of this investigation was to compare reoperation rates and clinical outcomes after meniscal repair and partial meniscectomy.

Methods: A systematic literature review was performed to identify outcome studies of arthroscopic meniscal repair (inside-out, outside-in, and all-inside techniques) or partial meniscectomy in patients with traumatic meniscal tears. The studies included patients with no previous injuries or operations.

Results: At short- and long-term follow-up, partial meniscectomy had a lower reoperation rate (1.4% [2 of 143] and 3.9% [52 of 1,319], respectively) than isolated meniscal repair (16.5% [47 of 284] and 20.7% [30 of 145], respectively). There was a slightly higher reoperation rate after partial lateral meniscectomy compared with partial medial meniscectomy. Repairs of the medial meniscus resulted in higher reoperation rates than repairs of the lateral meniscus. Meniscal repairs at the time of anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction had a lower failure rate than isolated repairs. In the limited number of studies with long-term clinical outcome scores, meniscal repair was associated with higher Lysholm scores and less radiologic degeneration than partial meniscectomy.

Conclusions: Whereas meniscal repairs have a higher reoperation rate than partial meniscectomies, they are associated with better long-term outcomes.

Level of evidence: Level IV, systematic review of Level I-IV studies.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / surgery
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction / methods
  • Arthroscopy / methods*
  • Arthroscopy / statistics & numerical data
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Internal Fixators
  • Menisci, Tibial / surgery*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recovery of Function
  • Reoperation / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tibial Meniscus Injuries
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult