Future of 34 meniscectomies after bucket-handle meniscus tear: a retrospective study with a follow-up over 22 years

Eur J Orthop Surg Traumatol. 2016 May;26(4):435-40. doi: 10.1007/s00590-016-1754-2. Epub 2016 Mar 3.


After a bucket-handle meniscus tear, a partial meniscectomy by arthroscopy is recommended, when a meniscal suture is impossible. Short-term results of meniscectomy after bucket-handle meniscus tear, without cartilage or ligament additional injury, are mostly excellent: pain and blocking disappear, return to sports activities is possible. The aim of this retrospective study is to follow a partial meniscectomy evolution with a long follow-up between March 1990 and April 1994, and a senior surgeon operated 34 meniscectomies for bucket-handle meniscus tear by 34 patients (29 male and 5 female) with a mean age of 31.7 years (16-52 years) at time of surgery. The bucket-handle meniscus tear had a traumatic etiology on a knee with no cartilage lesion. The functional results were assessed by IKDC subjective score (International Knee Documentation Committee) and ARPEGE score (Association pour la Recherche et la Promotion de l'Etude du Genou). These scores were obtained by phone call questionnaire in March 2014 with a mean follow-up of 22.7 years (20-24 years). In this study, patients were reviewed and got a clinical examination to determine the Lequesne score, a radiological knee assessment according to Ahlbäck classification and a weight-bearing teleradiography. With an IKDC mean score of 85.8 after surgery, we observed that 29 patients go back to sports activities with the same level as before injury. The level of sports activity, with a regular practice after a mean follow-up of 22.7 years, was the same as immediately after surgery or just the level under for 85.3 % of patients. With ARPEGE score, 48.5 % of patients had a global excellent result and 38.2 % had a global good result after a long follow-up. With a mean Lequesne score of 2.38, osteoarthritis of knee is still clinical minimal after meniscectomy at long term. The score was worse after external meniscectomy (EM) than after an internal meniscectomy (IM). 57.7 % of patients have osteoarthritis on X-rays. In our study, functional results after partial meniscectomy for bucket-handle meniscus tear are similar than in the literature. More than half of our patients, reviewed after a long follow-up, had radiological osteoarthritis of knee with a variable clinical result, but often minimal to moderate, intensity modulated by the lower limb axis.

Keywords: Arthroscopy; Knee; Menisectomy; Osteoarthritis.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / surgery
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Menisci, Tibial / surgery*
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Return to Sport
  • Tibial Meniscus Injuries / surgery*
  • Young Adult