Meniscal Repair Techniques for Middle- and Posterior-Third Tears

Published:January 13, 2021DOI:
      Abstract: Technical advancements in meniscal repairs have greatly contributed to the ability to repair a variety of meniscal tears that were once thought untreatable. The gold-standard treatment for arthroscopic meniscal body repair remains an inside-out technique. The advantages of this technique are innate to the low-profile nature of the suture-passing construct, which allows for perpendicular access to tears with the benefit of multiple fixation points, in contrast to often bulkier all-inside repair devices. This technique requires a posteromedial or posterolateral incision for safe suture passing and needle retrieval and necessitates a surgical team experienced in this method of repair. However, the newest generation of all-inside devices has allowed for more facile placement of a variety of suture types. The all-inside repair technique includes both capsular-based and meniscal-based fixation, is not limited by a need for additional experienced surgical personnel to pass and retrieve needles, and does not require additional incisions. Regardless of fixation type, meniscal repair has been shown to improve long-term functional scores when compared with meniscectomy. Additionally, biological adjuncts have been introduced into the repair algorithm to improve healing rates when performing isolated meniscal repairs. Preparing the healing site with abrasion or trephination creates vascular channels that can facilitate repair. Intercondylar-notch marrow venting attempts to replicate the environment created by anterior cruciate ligament drilling for which healing rates are notably higher than those with isolated meniscal repairs. The use of fibrin clots in inside-out meniscal repairs with suturing of the clot to the area of the tear has also shown promising early healing rates on both magnetic resonance imaging and second-look arthroscopy. Finally, biological adjuncts such as platelet-rich plasma and concentrated bone marrow aspirate have shown both early clinical and radiographic improvements in Level IV case series, but further research is needed to more definitively measure their utility in the setting of meniscal repair.
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