The effect of allograft meniscal replacement on intraarticular contact area and pressures in the human knee. A biomechanical study

Am J Sports Med. Sep-Oct 1997;25(5):692-8. doi: 10.1177/036354659702500519.


To define the biomechanical effects of total lateral meniscectomy and of subsequent lateral meniscal allograft replacement on load transmission and distribution across the human knee, we mounted 10 fresh-frozen young human cadaveric knees on a mechanical testing system. Peak pressure and contact area profiles were determined at 0 degrees, 30 degrees, and 60 degrees of knee flexion using pressure-sensitive film and a densitometer. Load transmission profiles were determined for each knee in a sequential test order: 1) intact knee, 2) after lateral meniscectomy, 3) after implantation of size-matched meniscal allograft fixed with bone plugs, and 4) after release of the anterior and posterior horn attachments of the allograft. Total lateral meniscectomy resulted in a 45% to 50% decrease in total contact area. Allograft replacement increased total contact area by 42% to 65% as compared with total meniscectomy at all flexion angles. After release of the anterior and posterior horn attachments, contact area was identical to that after total meniscectomy. Total lateral meniscectomy resulted in a 235% to 335% increase in peak local contact pressure. Allograft replacement decreased these pressures by 55% to 65% at all flexion angles, but they remained significantly greater than those in the intact state. After release of the anterior and posterior horn attachments, contact pressures were identical to those after total meniscectomy. Compared with total meniscectomy, meniscal allograft transplantation significantly increases contact area and decreases peak local contact pressures, but any biomechanical advantages are lost without bone plug fixation of the anterior and posterior horns.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arthroplasty / methods*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cadaver
  • Humans
  • Menisci, Tibial / surgery*
  • Menisci, Tibial / transplantation*
  • Middle Aged
  • Orthopedic Fixation Devices
  • Osteotomy