Surgical Techniques and Outcomes of Repairing Meniscal Radial Tears: A Systematic Review

Arthroscopy. 2016 Sep;32(9):1919-25. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2016.03.029. Epub 2016 May 24.


Purpose: To systematically review meniscal radial tear repair procedures and compare the techniques, outcomes, and complications.

Methods: Studies were identified through a systematic review of the literature using the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, PubMed (1980-2014), Medline (1980-2014), and Embase. Inclusion criteria included a minimum follow-up of 24 months, English language, and publications from 1980 or later. Exclusion criteria were surgical techniques not reporting follow-up, biomechanical studies, cadaver/anatomic studies, and non-radial tear meniscal repair procedures. Meniscal radial repair, meniscal radial tear, meniscal radial tear repair, radial repair and radial tear were used as search terms.

Results: A total of 6 studies (55 patients) met the inclusion criteria. The mean duration of follow-up ranged from 24 to 71 months. Of the 6 studies, 5 reported radial tears to the lateral meniscus and 1 study reported cases of both medial and lateral meniscal radial tears. Two studies reported different inside-out repair techniques, 2 studies reported the use of an all-inside anchor-based repair system, 1 study reported an all-inside repair technique with absorbable sutures, and 1 study reported an inside-out repair with fibrin clots. Average postoperative Lysholm scores were reported in all 6 studies and ranged from 86.9 to 95.6. Average postoperative Tegner activity scores were reported in 4 studies and ranged from 1 to 6.7. The majority of studies concluded that their techniques produced satisfactory healing of the radial tear, without serious subsequent complications.

Conclusions: Radial repair techniques differed among studies; however, postoperative subjective outcomes revealed patient improvement with repairing radial tears. With the increasing concern of long-term osteoarthritis after meniscectomy, meniscal preservation with repair of radial tears results in improved short-term clinical outcomes; however, long-term outcomes remain unknown.

Level of evidence: Level IV, systematic review of level IV studies.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthroscopy / methods*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries / surgery
  • Knee Joint / surgery
  • Lysholm Knee Score
  • Menisci, Tibial / surgery*
  • Osteoarthritis / surgery
  • Postoperative Period
  • Sutures
  • Tibial Meniscus Injuries / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome