In order to more accurately document the effects of meniscus removal, 20 children and adolescents with isolated meniscal tears were examined an average of 5.5 years after surgery. All patients with concomitant ligamentous injuries and a history of prior surgery on either knee, and those with bilateral knee pathology or knee pathology outside the meniscus, were excluded. At followup, 60% of the 20 study patients had unsatisfactory results. The clinical results did not correlate with the site of meniscectomy, the type of meniscal tear, the severity of radiographic changes, or whether the patient had total or partial meniscectomy. Evaluation of lower extremity muscle function revealed a statistically significant (P less than 0.05) decrease in hip abductor strength in patients with unsatisfactory results. This study indicates that meniscectomy in the child or adolescent is not a benign procedure, and that failure to rehabilitate hip abductor strength to normal levels significantly comprises the clinical end results.