Healed meniscal tears in unstable knees. A long-term followup of seven years

Am J Sports Med. Mar-Apr 1989;17(2):161-3. doi: 10.1177/036354658901700204.


Peripheral vertical ruptures of the medial (N = 24) and the lateral (N = 4) meniscus were repaired in 28 patients (mean age, 27 years). They all had an ACL lesion, combined in 26 cases with a MCL tear. These injuries were reconstructed or sutured during the same session as the meniscus repairs. Approximately 1 year later, meniscal healing was proven arthroscopically in 20 and the other 8 had no clinical signs of meniscal rerupture. All patients were reexamined between 6 to 8 years after the initial repair. Instrumented stability testing, the Lysholm knee function score and an activity score (Tegner) were used. The patients' subjective evaluations were also recorded. In spite of the previous reconstruction, all knees were quite unstable (mean +5 mm increased laxity compared with the uninjured side). At followup, 3 of the 28 repaired menisci (11%) had reruptured in connection with a minor trauma during sports or daily activity. The knee function score averaged 88 points, the activity level dropped 2 steps compared with activities before injury (from 7 to 5). Twenty patients were satisfied with the results, 5 partly satisfied, and 3 not satisfied. A healed meniscal tear has a good chance of survival in an unstable knee. The most critical period of meniscal repair probably lies in the healing period just after surgery.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability / surgery*
  • Knee Joint / physiopathology*
  • Knee Joint / surgery
  • Male
  • Menisci, Tibial / surgery
  • Middle Aged
  • Tibial Meniscus Injuries*