Background: Meniscal allograft transplant (MAT) is considered an effective procedure for reducing pain and improving knee function. Nevertheless, the current knowledge regarding the results of MAT is limited to short- to mid-term follow-up studies, especially for arthroscopic techniques.
Purpose: To evaluate the long-term clinical outcomes, reoperations, and failures with a minimum follow-up of 10 years after fresh-frozen MAT performed arthroscopically with soft tissue fixation.
Study design: Case series; Level of evidence, 4.
Methods: A total of 46 patients (age, 36.6 ± 10.6 years; 36 male, 10 female) who underwent medial MAT (n = 27) or lateral MAT (n = 19) with a minimum 10-year follow-up were evaluated with the Lysholm score, Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS), visual analog scale for pain, and Tegner score. Surgical failure was defined as the need for partial or total graft removal (meniscectomy or knee replacement), and clinical failure was defined as the need for partial or total graft removal in addition to a poor Lysholm score (<65 points) at final follow-up. Survival analysis was performed with Kaplan-Meier curve, and clinical scores were analyzed based on the Patient Acceptable Symptom State (PASS) for MAT.
Results: 10-year survival and clinical data were available for 38 patients. Because 6 meniscectomies were required, the rate of survival free from surgical failure was 91% at 5 years and 86% at 10 years. Lower survival was reported in lateral MAT (73%) compared with medial MAT (96%). Because a further 4 patients had poor Lysholm scores, the rate of survival free from surgical and clinical failure was 87% at 5 years and 70% at 10 years. The average Lysholm score at final follow-up was 82 ± 20, and 60% to 82% of patients achieved PASS of the various KOOS subscales. The Tegner score and the KOOS Sport score significantly decreased from mid-term to long-term evaluation (P < .001 and P < .05, respectively). Other KOOS subscales and the Lysholm score remained stable at long-term evaluation. No significant differences were found between isolated MAT or combined MAT regarding subjective scores, surgical failures, or clinical failures.
Conclusion: Up to 10 years after surgery, 86% of fresh-frozen MATs with soft tissue fixation were still in situ, and satisfactory clinical results were present for about 70% of patients. Decline of clinical outcomes from midterm to long term was noted only in sports-related scores. A higher number of overall reoperations was noted in female patients, whereas a higher risk of failure was present in the patients with lateral MAT.
Keywords: allograft; arthroscopy; knee; long-term follow-up; meniscus; transplantation.