Revision Meniscal Surgery in Children and Adolescents: Risk Factors and Mechanisms for Failure and Subsequent Management

Am J Sports Med. 2016 Apr;44(4):838-43. doi: 10.1177/0363546515623511. Epub 2016 Jan 27.


Background: The mechanisms of failure and risk factors for failed meniscal surgery in children and adolescents have not been well described.

Purpose: To investigate the risk factors, mechanisms of failure, and subsequent operative management for revision meniscal surgery in a pediatric population, as well as to identify the local incidence of failed meniscal surgery.

Study design: Case-control study; Level of evidence, 3.

Methods: All patients younger than 20 years who had arthroscopic management for meniscal injuries at a single institution between 2008 and 2012 underwent retrospective review. Demographic data and intraoperative findings at the time of the initial surgery were documented. All patients undergoing a second procedure on the same meniscus were further analyzed. Multivariate logistic regression with purposeful selection was performed to identify independent risk factors for revision meniscal surgery.

Results: Arthroscopic knee surgery was performed on 293 patients and 324 menisci, including 129 primary repairs, 149 primary partial meniscectomies, and 46 discoid saucerizations ± stabilization. At a mean of 40 months (range, 19-62 months) after surgery, 13% of all menisci required a revision procedure. The primary repair cohort had the highest failure rate (18%), followed by the primary discoid saucerization cohort (15%) and the partial meniscectomy cohort (7%). Multivariate analysis indicated that meniscal repair was predictive of retear (odds ratio, 2.04 [95% CI, 1.01-4.1]; P = .046), and children with an open physis and a bucket-handle tear had the highest retear rate of 46% (P = .039). Independent variables shown to have no significant relationship to revision meniscal surgery included age, sex, body mass index, extremity side, laterality (medial-lateral), time to repair, tear location, and associated ligament reconstruction. The most common indication for revision surgery was an acute reinjury during intense physical activity. Revision procedures were performed at a mean of 14 months after the index procedure, and the majority of failures (83%) were identified within 1 year. Of patients undergoing a revision surgery, 44% underwent a further debridement, whereas 56% underwent a repair.

Conclusion: The success rate of meniscal surgery is 87% in children and adolescents. The revision rate was higher when repair was attempted in the index procedure, particularly in those children with open physes and bucket-handle tears. Most failures are the result of an acute reinjury within 1 year, and nearly half will require debridement of the retorn meniscus.

Keywords: adolescents; children; knee; meniscus; meniscus tear; pediatric sports medicine; repair; revision.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Arthroscopy
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Menisci, Tibial / surgery*
  • Reoperation / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Tibial Meniscus Injuries*
  • Treatment Failure