Meniscal transplant reduces pain and delays additional surgery in patients age 50 and less
The study published in issue of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery on 5th August, demonstrated a significant reduction in pain and improvement in knee function after transplant surgery in most of the patients of age 50 or less with a torn or severely damaged meniscus but many patients also needed additional surgery within 10 years.
A wedge-shaped piece of fibro cartilage in the knee that acts as a shock absorber between the thighbone and shinbone is meniscus which gets torn during sports or wears away over time as the body ages. After loss of the meniscus in young patients, transplant is done to maintain a cushion between the two bones, stabilize the joint, prevent persistent knee pain, and to allow for greater mobility. An arthroscope is used to accurately place and stitch new, transplanted meniscal tissue.
Thirty eight meniscal transplant patients of age 50 or less without arthritis were followed for an average of 11 years after surgery. On the basis of clinical, subjective, and radiographic measures, patients’ outcomes were evaluated.
At 10 years, 63% of meniscal transplants were successful (no pain) while only 11% patients with successful transplants had pain while doing daily activities. 72% of patients were able to low-impact sports such as bicycling and swimming. The meniscal transplants lasted between 7 and 8 years after surgery in patients who require additional surgery.
According to Frank R. Noyes, MD, lead study author and founder, Noyes Knee Institute, Cincinnati Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center, this data offers surgeons with reasonable proportions that encourage delaying additional major knee surgeries linked to damaged meniscus. However, purpose of meniscus transplants remain uncertain in the long term as the survivorship rate of the transplants reduces to 15% and 40% at 15 years so the patients should be advised accordingly regarding its long-term effect and need for the additional surgery.