Comparison of Long-term Radiographic Outcomes and Rate and Time for Conversion to Total Knee Arthroplasty Between Repair and Meniscectomy for Medial Meniscus Posterior Root Tears: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Am J Sports Med. 2022 Jun;50(7):2023-2031. doi: 10.1177/03635465211017514. Epub 2021 Jul 12.


Background: Previous meta-analyses have demonstrated superior outcomes in patients undergoing arthroscopic repair of medial meniscus posterior root tears (MMPRTs) compared with meniscectomy. However, these analyses have considered only short- or midterm outcomes and low-quality evidence.

Purpose: To compare the mid- to long-term rates of radiographic osteoarthritis (OA) between repair and meniscectomy for MMPRT.

Study design: Systematic review and meta-analysis; Level of evidence, 4.

Methods: PubMed, EMBASE, Ovid/MEDLINE, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials databases were queried for articles evaluating repair and meniscectomy for MMPRT. Articles were eligible if they had a minimum mean 4-year follow-up for radiographic OA or conversion to total knee arthroplasty (TKA) and were at least level 3 evidence. Radiographic OA was assessed using Kellgren-Lawrence (KL) progression. Rates of conversion to TKA and International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) scores were also extracted. DerSimonian-Laird binary random-effects models were created to evaluate differences in radiographic OA and TKA conversion rates, with odds ratios (ORs) representing pooled estimates. Continuous random-effects models with standardized mean differences (SMDs) were used to compare postoperative IKDC scores.

Results: Repair and meniscectomy cohorts were followed for a mean of 64.8 months and 62.5 months, respectively, for KL progression; and 82.8 months and 73.8 months, respectively, for TKA rates and IKDC scores. Overall, 59 of 144 (41%) patients undergoing surgical intervention for MMPRT demonstrated OA progression; 18 of 82 (22%) who underwent repair for MMPRT exhibited OA progression compared with 41 of 62 (66%) who underwent meniscectomy (OR, 0.17; 95% CI, 0.03-0.83; P = .029). Overall, 30 of 143 (21%) patients converted to TKA; 9.8% (8/82) of patients who underwent repair converted to TKA (range, 47-131 months), while 36% (22/61) who underwent meniscectomy converted to TKA (range, 17.8-101 months) (OR, 0.15; 95% CI, 0.05-0.44; P < .001). No significant differences between postoperative IKDC scores were observed (SMD, 0.51; 95% CI, -0.02 to 1.05; P = .06).

Conclusion: Medial meniscus posterior root repair results in significantly lower rates of radiographic OA progression and conversion to TKA at >60-month follow-up. On the basis of these findings, we recommend consideration of repair of MMPRTs when degenerative changes are not severe, as it can yield improved outcomes.

Keywords: arthroscopy; medial meniscus; osteoarthritis; root tear.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee* / adverse effects
  • Arthroscopy / methods
  • Humans
  • Meniscectomy / adverse effects
  • Meniscectomy / methods
  • Menisci, Tibial / diagnostic imaging
  • Menisci, Tibial / surgery
  • Osteoarthritis* / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tibial Meniscus Injuries* / diagnostic imaging
  • Tibial Meniscus Injuries* / surgery