Meniscal transplantation : still experimental surgery ? A review

Published online: Sep 27 2014


From the Department of Orthopaedics, University Hospital of Ghent, Belgium


Introduction : the objective of this review is to give a state of affairs of meniscal transplantation, with the accent on preservation and surgical techniques. Materials and methods : All articles were selected by performing a search on the literature by using relevant keywords. The most relevant articles were selected with close attention to the publication date. Results : When a meniscal tear is diagnosed, suture can be an option in the vascular zone, whereas the more frequently affected avascular zone heals poorly. A meniscectomy however is not without consequences, wherefore meniscal transplantation can be seen as a therapeutic option for pain reduction and improvement of function when the meniscus is lost. The meniscal scaffold, allograft and autograft can be currently withheld as possible grafts, where the meniscal scaffolds hold great promise as an alternative to the allograft. Various fixation techniques are therefore developed, where viable, deep frozen as well as cryopreservated allografts seem to give the most promising short term results. The transplantation can be performed using an open as well as an arthroscopic technique, using soft tissue fixation, bone plugs or blocks. De primacy of one technique can't be proven. In general meniscal transplantation can be considered as an acceptable procedure. Discussion : Since the outcomes of different studies are difficult to compare, an attempt should be made to limit new studies to the comparison of one aspect. We can conclude that larger, more comparative randomised controlled long-term studies are necessary to resolve which techniques can give the best long-term results.