Effects of Medial Meniscus Posterior Horn Avulsion and Repair on Tibiofemoral Contact Area and Peak Contact Pressure With Clinical Implications

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Abstract

Background:

Avulsion of the posterior horn attachment of the medial meniscus can compromise load-bearing ability, produce meniscus extrusion, and result in tibiofemoral joint-space narrowing, articular cartilage damage, and osteoarthritis.

Hypothesis:

Avulsion of the posterior horn of the medial meniscus will increase peak contact pressure and decrease contact area in the medial compartment of the knee, and posterior horn repair will restore contact area and peak contact pressures to values of the control knee.

Study Design:

Controlled laboratory study.

Methods:

Eight fresh-frozen human cadaveric knees had tibiofemoral peak contact pressures and contact area measured in the control state. The posterior horn of the medial meniscus was avulsed from its insertion and knees were retested. The meniscal avulsion was repaired by suture through a transosseous tunnel and the knees were tested a third time.

Results:

Avulsion of the posterior horn attachment of the medial meniscus resulted in a significant increase in medial joint peak contact pressure (from 3841 kPa to 5084 kPa) and a significant decrease in contact area (from 594 mm2 to 474 mm2). Repair of the avulsion resulted in restoration of the loading profiles to values equal to the control knee, with values of 3551 kPa for peak pressure and 592 mm2 for contact area.

Conclusion:

Posterior horn medial meniscal root avulsion leads to deleterious alteration of the loading profiles of the medial joint compartment and results in loss of hoop stress resistance, meniscus extrusion, abnormal loading of the joint, and early knee medial-compartment degenerative changes.

Clinical Relevance:

The repair technique described restores the ability of the medial meniscus to absorb hoop stress and eliminate joint-space narrowing, possibly decreasing the risk of degenerative disease.

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