Meniscus Transplantation-Prospective Assessment of Clinical Results in Two, Five and Ten Year Follow-Up

Purpose: The authors present clinical results in patients following transplantation of deep-frozen menisci within ten years following the surgery.

Methods: A cohort of 46 patients who were transplanted altogether 49 menisci was subject to prospective study following six months, two, five and ten years after meniscus transplantation. For subjective assessment, we used KOOS, IKDC and Lysholm scores; objective assessment was based on load X-ray examination of the operated knee at two, five and ten years after the surgery, MRI examination of 34 patients in the interval of two and ten years after the operation, control arthroscopy was performed in 23 patients eight of whom suffered a new injury.

Results: All 38 patients who have completed ten year follow-up without any new injury of the operated joint demonstrated statistically significant improvement of mobility in the period of six months and two, five and ten years following the meniscal transplantation. Further follow-up demonstrated different results in patients with a new injury and without a new injury of the operated knee joint. In eight patients (17.3%), the follow-up was disturbed by a new injury of the operated joint within three to eight years after the meniscal transplantation. In three patients with the damaged meniscal transplant, a cartilage deterioration from degree II to degree IIIa was found. In second-look arthroscopy, the patients with no injury showed signs of the improved condition of cartilage by one degree according to ICRS classification on average. The MRI imaging showed relatively frequent (47%) extrusion of the anterior and medial part of meniscus (2.5-3.8 mms) without the followed-up dynamics of changes at two and ten years after the surgery.

Conclusion: All patients in the selected cohort proved the positive benefit of meniscus transplant when it comes to the improvement of clinical symptoms and improvement of mobility of the operated knee joint. The higher mobility following the transplantation compared to the activity prior to the surgery could have contributed to a new injury of the operated joint in 17% of the patients in the cohort.

Keywords: 10 years follow-up; Arthroscopy; Functional outcome; Meniscus; Transplantation.