Is It Necessary to Repair Stable Ramp Lesions of the Medial Meniscus During Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction? A Prospective Randomized Controlled Trial

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Abstract

Background:

A special type of meniscal lesion involving the peripheral attachment of the posterior horn of the medial meniscus (PHMM), termed a “ramp lesion,” is commonly associated with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. However, its treatment is still controversial. Recently, stable ramp lesions treated with abrasion and trephination alone have been shown to have good clinical outcomes after ACL reconstruction.

Hypothesis:

Stable ramp lesions treated with abrasion and trephination alone during ACL reconstruction will result in similar clinical outcomes compared with those treated with surgical repair.

Study Design:

Randomized controlled trial; Level of evidence, 2.

Methods:

A prospective randomized controlled study was performed in 91 consecutive patients who had complete ACL injuries and concomitant stable ramp lesions of the medial meniscus. All patients were randomly allocated to 1 of 2 groups based on whether the stable ramp lesions were surgically repaired (study group; n = 50) or only abraded and trephined (control group; n = 41) during ACL reconstruction. All surgical procedures were performed by a single surgeon who was blinded to the functional assessment findings of the patients. The Lysholm score, subjective International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) score, and stability assessments (pivot-shift test, Lachman test, KT-1000 arthrometer side-to-side difference, and KT-1000 arthrometer differences of <3, 3-5, and >5 mm) were evaluated preoperatively and at the last follow-up. Moreover, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was used to evaluate the healing status of the ramp lesions.

Results:

All consecutive patients who were screened for eligibility from August 2008 to April 2012 were enrolled and observed clinically. There were 40 patients in the study group and 33 patients in the control group who were observed for at least 2 years. At the final follow-up, there were no significant differences between the study group and the control group in terms of the mean Lysholm score (88.7 ± 4.8 vs 90.4 ± 5.8, respectively; P = .528), mean subjective IKDC score (83.6 ± 3.7 vs 82.2 ± 4.5, respectively; P = .594), pivot-shift test results (P = .658), Lachman test results (P = .525), KT-1000 arthrometer side-to-side difference (1.6 ± 1.2 vs 1.5 ± 1.1, respectively; P = .853), or KT-1000 arthrometer grading (P = .738). Overall, for both groups (n = 73), 67 patients showed completely healed (38 study, 29 control), 3 showed partially healed (1 study, 2 control), and 3 showed nonhealed (1 study, 2 control) signals on follow-up MRI when evaluating the healing status of the ramp lesions. There was no significant difference regarding the healing status of the ramp lesions between the 2 groups (P = .543).

Conclusion:

This prospective randomized controlled trial showed that, in terms of subjective scores, knee stability, and meniscal healing status, concomitant stable ramp lesions of the medial meniscus treated with abrasion and trephination alone during ACL reconstruction resulted in similar clinical outcomes compared with those treated with surgical repair.

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