Two-Tunnel Transtibial Repair of Radial Meniscus Tears Produces Comparable Results to Inside-Out Repair of Vertical Meniscus Tears

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Abstract

Background:

Radial meniscus tears disrupt the circumferential fibers and thereby compromise meniscus integrity. Historically, radial tears were often treated with meniscectomy because of an incomplete understanding of the biomechanical consequences of these tears, limited information regarding the biomechanical performance of repair, and the technical difficulty associated with repair. There is a paucity of studies on the outcomes of the repair of radial meniscus tears.

Purpose/Hypothesis:

The purpose was to determine the outcomes of 2-tunnel transtibial repair of radial meniscus tears and compare these results to the outcomes of patients who underwent the repair of vertical meniscus tears with a minimum of 2-year follow-up. The hypothesis was that radial and vertical meniscus tear repair outcomes were comparable.

Study Design:

Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3.

Methods:

Patients who underwent 2-tunnel transtibial pullout repair for a radial meniscus tear were included in this study and compared with patients who underwent inside-out repair for a vertical meniscus tear. Subjective questionnaires were administered preoperatively and at a minimum of 2-year follow-up, including the Lysholm score, the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC), the Short Form–12 (SF-12) physical component summary (PCS), the Tegner activity scale, and patient satisfaction. Analysis of covariance was used to compare postoperative outcome scores between the meniscus repair groups while accounting for baseline scores. Adjusted mean effects relative to the radial repair group were reported with 95% CIs.

Results:

Twenty-seven patients who underwent 2-tunnel transtibial pullout repair for radial meniscus tears and 33 patients who underwent inside-out repair for vertical meniscus tears were available for follow-up at a mean of 3.5 years (range, 2.0-5.4 years). No preoperative outcome score significantly differed between the groups. There were no significant group differences for any of the 2-year postoperative outcome scores. Relative to the vertical repair group, the radial repair group exhibited an adjusted mean of −0.2 (95% CI, −5.4 to 4.9), −0.6 (95% CI, −6.6 to 5.5), and 5.1 (95% CI, −3.9 to 14.0) points on the SF-12 PCS, WOMAC, and Lysholm scores, respectively.

Conclusion:

The 2-tunnel transtibial pullout technique for the repair of radial meniscus tears produces similar clinical outcomes when compared with the repair of vertical meniscus tears at a mean 3.5 years’ follow-up.

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