The Meniscus-Deficient Knee: Biomechanics, Evaluation, and Treatment Options

Orthop J Sports Med. 2015 Oct 23;3(10):2325967115611386. doi: 10.1177/2325967115611386. eCollection 2015 Oct.


Meniscal tears are the most common knee injury, and partial meniscectomies are the most common orthopaedic surgical procedure. The injured meniscus has an impaired ability to distribute load and resist tibial translation. Partial or complete loss of the meniscus promotes early development of chondromalacia and osteoarthritis. The primary goal of treatment for meniscus-deficient knees is to provide symptomatic relief, ideally to delay advanced joint space narrowing, and ultimately, joint replacement. Surgical treatments, including meniscal allograft transplantation (MAT), high tibial osteotomy (HTO), and distal femoral osteotomy (DFO), are options that attempt to decrease the loads on the articular cartilage of the meniscus-deficient compartment by replacing meniscal tissue or altering joint alignment. Clinical and biomechanical studies have reported promising outcomes for MAT, HTO, and DFO in the postmeniscectomized knee. These procedures can be performed alone or in conjunction with ligament reconstruction or chondral procedures (reparative, restorative, or reconstructive) to optimize stability and longevity of the knee. Complications can include fracture, nonunion, patella baja, compartment syndrome, infection, and deep venous thrombosis. MAT, HTO, and DFO are effective options for young patients suffering from pain and functional limitations secondary to meniscal deficiency.

Keywords: high tibial osteotomy; meniscal allograft transplantation; meniscus; meniscus deficient.