Objectives: Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are a common finding in sports medicine. Our scope is to investigate whether stable, incomplete medial meniscus tears could be left untreated during single bundle anatomic anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction.
Patients and methods: A prospective observational study on 597 knees from a single surgeon cohort, using the same reconstruction technique, found 23 medial and 48 lateral meniscus tears which could be left untreated.
Results: None of the cases required reintervention during the first postoperative year. In fact, 21.7% of the medial meniscus group and 14.6% of the lateral group had potential residual symptoms that were not confirmed and gradually disappeared within one year. A comparison of Cincinnati Knee, IKDC scores and limb symmetry index values (calculated using the triple hop for distance into the two groups) found no differences for the last two variables (both p = 0.065) and was marginal for the first score (p < 0.05). The between groups comparisons, performed in the KT-1000, also yielded no difference (p = 0.11).
Conclusions: We than concluded that incomplete meniscal tears, left in situ at the time of anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, could have favorable outcomes as long as decisions are carefully weighed with regard to the length of the lesion. Also, at least in this perspective, anatomic single bundle has proved a sufficient stabilizer for anterior translation of the tibia.