Long-term Results After Repair of Isolated Meniscal Tears Among Patients Aged 18 Years and Younger: An 18-Year Follow-up Study

Michella H Hagmeijer, Nicholas I Kennedy, Adam J Tagliero, Bruce A Levy, Michael J Stuart, Daniel B F Saris, Diane L Dahm, Aaron J Krych

Published: 01/03/2019


Background: Meniscal repair is desirable over resection to prevent postmeniscectomy arthritis, especially among young and active patients. However, long-term data are currently lacking following isolated meniscal repair, particularly in the pediatric population.

Purpose/hypothesis: To report long-term follow-up of isolated meniscal tears treated by meniscal repair in a pediatric and adolescent population and to compare those results with previous midterm follow-up data reported. The authors hypothesized that these patients would have satisfactory function and reoperation rates at long-term follow-up.

Study design: Case series; Level of evidence, 4.

Methods: Forty-four patients aged ≤18 years undergoing repair of an isolated meniscal tear (without concomitant anterior cruciate ligament injury) between 1990 and 2005 were included. At the time of final follow-up, recurrent tear, reoperations, and International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) and Tegner scores were determined. With logistic regression, the overall failure among tear types was calculated. Wilcoxon rank sum analysis were performed to calculate the differences in clinical outcome for different time points, and Spearman coefficients were calculated for Tegner and IKDC with different variables.

Results: At a mean follow-up of 17.6 years (range, 13.1-25.9 years), 32 patients with 33 isolated meniscal repairs (29 male, 3 female) with a mean age of 16.1 years (range, 9.9-18.7 years) at surgery were included in this study. At early follow-up, the overall failure rate was 14 of 33 (42%); complex tears (80%) and bucket-handle tears (47%) had higher overall failure rates when compared with simple tears (18.2%), although only complex tears had a significantly higher failure rate. However, no further failures occurred since midterm follow-up with any tear type. At final follow-up, the mean IKDC score was 92.3, which was significantly increased when compared with preoperative (65.3, P < .0001) and midterm (90.2, P = .01) scores. The mean Tegner score (6.5) was significantly lower than both preoperative (8.3, P < .0001) and midterm (8.4, P < .0001) scores. There was no difference in Tegner or IKDC score for patients with successful versus failed repair.

Conclusion: In conclusion, while there was a high early failure rate, this study demonstrated overall good to excellent long-term clinical outcomes after isolated meniscal repair in an adolescent population, even for those requiring reoperation. Early failure and reoperation rates were variable, depending on tear type, with complex multiplanar tears having more failures at short-term follow-up. However, at long-term follow-up, IKDC and Tegner scores were not significantly different for those with complex tears as compared with other tear types.

Full Access Link: American Journal of Sports Medicine