Case report| Volume 21, ISSUE 12, P1505-1509, December 2005

Rapid Progression of Chondral Disease in the Lateral Compartment of the Knee Following Meniscectomy


      We present 2 cases of severe, rapidly progressive chondral disease in the lateral compartment within 12 months after meniscectomy. In both cases, the lateral compartment was salvaged with simultaneously performed cartilage repair techniques and meniscal transplantation. The first case is of a 16-year-old boy who suffered a complex irreparable posterior horn lateral meniscus tear that was treated with an aggressive partial meniscectomy, and developed a rapid onset of severe lateral compartment symptoms associated with a focal grade IV chondral defect of the lateral femoral condyle within 10 months of his index meniscectomy. The second case is that of an athletic 43-year-old orthopaedic surgeon who suffered a complex lateral meniscus tear that required a near total lateral meniscectomy. Within 5 months of the lateral meniscectomy, he developed severe lateral symptoms with a focal grade IV chondral defect of the lateral femoral condyle. In both cases, the articular cartilage defects were treated with osteochondral grafting at the time of lateral meniscus transplantation with excellent results at 2-year follow-up. These cases highlight the significant need for a heightened the awareness of the relatively increased risk of rapid lateral compartment degeneration following lateral meniscectomy. This, in combination with the appropriate use of cartilage restoration techniques, provides the potential to salvage or prevent rapid onset, unicompartmental degenerative disease, and the ability to reduce symptoms and improve function in these challenging patients.

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