Most patients younger than age 50 with a torn or severely damaged meniscus experienced reduced pain and improved knee function following transplant surgery, according to a study in the latest issue of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (JBJS). However, many patients required additional surgery within 10 years.
The meniscus is a wedge-shaped piece of fibrocartilage in the knee that acts as a shock absorber between the thighbone and shinbone. A meniscus can be torn during sports or wear away over time as the body ages. For younger patients with knee pain after loss of the meniscus, a meniscus transplant is performed to maintain a cushion between the two bones, stabilize the joint, prevent persistent knee pain, and to allow for greater mobility. An orthopaedic surgeon executes the knee surgery by using an arthroscope to accurately place and stitch new, transplanted meniscal tissue.
Researchers followed 38 meniscal transplant patients under age 50, who did not have arthritis, for an average of 11 years following surgery. Patient outcomes were evaluated based on clinical, subjective, and radiographic measures.
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