Return to Sports After Athletes Undergo Meniscal Surgery: A Systematic Review

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Abstract

Objective:

The aim of this systematic review was to determine the time to and rate of the return to sports (RTS) after meniscal surgery and to compare these values among the different types of meniscal surgeries.

Study Design:

Systematic review.

Methods:

The MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane databases were searched. Studies that met the following criteria were included: (1) English article, (2) full-text available, (3) study on athletes, and (4) primary outcome is RTS after meniscal surgery, such as meniscectomy, meniscal repair, and meniscal allograft transplantation (MAT).

Results:

Eleven articles were included in the final analysis. Most players returned to the preinjury activity level from 7 to 9 weeks after partial meniscectomy. After meniscal repair, 81% to 88.9% of athletes returned to sports. The time to RTS after isolated meniscal repair was on average 5.6 months, and the time to RTS was longer for athletes who required concurrent anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR). After MAT, 67% to 85.7% of athletes returned to sports, and the time to RTS ranged from 7.6 to 16.5 months.

Conclusions:

The shortest time to RTS and the highest RTS rate were observed after partial meniscectomy. The time to RTS was shorter, and the RTS rate was higher after meniscal repair than after MAT. Concurrent procedures such as ACLR prolonged the time to RTS, but it had no effect on the RTS rate and the level of sports activity at the time of RTS.

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