Clinical outcomes following surgically repaired bucket-handle meniscus tears

Phys Sportsmed. 2017 Sep;45(3):329-336. doi: 10.1080/00913847.2017.1331688. Epub 2017 May 23.


Objectives: Meniscus tears are one of the most common knee injuries. Our goal is to investigate the failure rate for surgically repaired bucket-handle meniscus tears and compare clinical outcomes of repairs that failed versus those that did not, at a minimum 2-year follow-up interval.

Methods: 51 patients were identified in this retrospective cohort study who experienced bucket-handle meniscus tears that were isolated or with concomitant ACL injury. Inclusion criteria included age range from 13-55 years, confirmed bucket-handle meniscus tear by MRI and intraoperatively, and at least two-years of post-operative follow-up following index repair. Demographic data and outcome surveys were collected at a minimum of two-years follow-up after repair.

Results: Of the 51 patients that had a bucket-handle meniscal repair, 12 (23.5%) were defined as failures (return of symptoms alongside re-tear in the same zone of the repaired meniscus within two years of surgery). No demographic variables (age, sex, and BMI smoking status, location of tear, or concomitant ACL tear) significantly correlated with failure. The mean of the Sports and Recreation KOOS was significantly lower between the non-failure (87 ± 14.4) and failure (70 ± 17.2) cohorts (p = 0.0072). The Quality of Life subscale was significantly lower between the non-failure (76 ± 15.8) and failure (57 ± 18.2) groups (p = 0.0058). There was a significant difference in the post-operative Lysholm scores (p = 0.0039) with a mean of 90 ± 9.1 for the entire cohort and means of 92 ± 8.4 and 83 ± 8.6, for non-failure and failure groups, respectively.

Conclusions: We found a higher failure rate (23.5%) for bucket-handle meniscus repairs at two-year follow up than has been cited in the literature, which is typically less than 20%, with significantly lower KOOS Quality of Life and Sports and Recreation subscales and Lysholm scores for the failure cohort. This is the first study to report these outcome scores solely for bucket-handle meniscus repairs, shedding light on the post-operative quality of life of patients with repair success or failure.

Keywords: Meniscus; arthroscopic surgery; bucket-handle meniscus tears; knee injury; sports medicine.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries / complications
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lysholm Knee Score
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Period
  • Quality of Life*
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tibial Meniscus Injuries / complications
  • Tibial Meniscus Injuries / diagnostic imaging
  • Tibial Meniscus Injuries / surgery*
  • Treatment Failure
  • Young Adult