The future of meniscus science: international expert consensus

J Exp Orthop. 2021 Mar 31;8(1):24. doi: 10.1186/s40634-021-00345-y.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the main focus areas for research and development for furthering the state of meniscus science in 2021.

Methods: An electronic survey including 10 questions was sent in a blind fashion to the faculty members of the 5th International Conference on Meniscus Science and Surgery. These faculty served as an expert consensus on the future of research and development areas of meniscus science. Survey responses were analyzed using descriptive statistics and ranking weighted averages were calculated to score survey questions.

Results: Of the 82 faculty, 76 (93%) from 18 different countries completed the survey (84% male, 16% female). The highest ranked future research and development focus areas were meniscus repair, biologics, osteotomy procedures, addressing meniscus extrusion, and the development of new therapies for the prevention of posttraumatic osteoarthritis. Currently, the most 'valuable' type of biologic reported for meniscus treatment was platelet-rich plasma. The main reported global research limitation was a lack of long-term clinical outcomes data. The most promising emerging medical technologies for improving meniscus science were 3-D printing, personalized medicine, and artificial implants.

Conclusions: This survey suggests that the future of meniscus science should be focused on meniscal preservation techniques through meniscus repair, addressing meniscal extrusion, and the use of orthobiologics. The lack of long-term clinical outcomes was the main reported research limitation globally for meniscus treatment. Future product development utilizing emerging medical technologies suggest the use of 3-D printing for meniscal transplants/scaffolds, personalized treatment, and bioengineering for artificial implants.

Level of evidence: Level V.

Keywords: Biomechanics; Knee osteotomy; Meniscal extrusion; Meniscus repair; Orthobiologics; Orthopedic medical devices; Posttraumatic osteoarthritis.