Treatment options for the symptomatic post-meniscectomy knee

Matej Drobnič, Ersin Ercin, Joao Gamelas, Emmanuel T. Papacostas, Konrad Slynarski, Urszula Zdanowicz, Tim Spalding, Peter Verdonk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE: To provide a current review on the evidence for management of the symptomatic meniscus-deficient knee. METHODS: A literature review was performed detailing the natural history and origin of symptoms in a meniscus-deficient knee, in addition to strategies for non-surgical management, meniscus scaffolds, meniscus allograft transplantation (MAT), isolated cartilage repair, unloading osteotomies, meniscus prosthesis, and joint replacements which were revealed as treatment possibilities. RESULTS: Meniscus deficiency was recognized to lead to an early onset knee osteoarthritis (OA). A subset of patients develop post-meniscectomy syndrome: dull and nagging pain after a short pain-free interval subsequently to meniscectomy, which can be accompanied by transient effusions. Evidence for non-surgical management of post-meniscectomy knee pain is lacking. Two available meniscus scaffolds, indicated for symptomatic segmental meniscus deficiency, show pain relief at mid-term follow-up, and effect on joint preservation is unclear. MAT represents a durable solution for sub/total meniscus deficiency (80% survival at 10 years), but it is still considered a temporary solution for post-meniscectomy pain. MAT may also reduce the progression of OA. Isolated cartilage repair without a meniscus reconstruction is commonly performed, but better results were reported with preserved or reconstructed menisci. Osteotomies are used in the combination of misaligned knee and meniscus reconstruction or as pain solution for irreversible unilateral knee structural changes following a meniscectomy. Polycarbonate-urethane medial meniscus prosthesis is currently undergoing clinical trial. Joint replacements should be limited to later stages of post-meniscectomy OA. CONCLUSIONS: Post-meniscectomy pain syndrome and post-meniscectomy knee OA are common findings after meniscus resection. Short-term pain relief is provided by non-surgical management, mid-term pain relief by meniscus scaffolds, and long-term relief by MAT, though each has differing indications. In later stages, osteotomies and joint replacements are indicated.IV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1817-1824
Number of pages8
JournalKnee surgery, sports traumatology, arthroscopy : official journal of the ESSKA
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • Allograft
  • Injury
  • Knee
  • Lesion
  • Meniscus
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Repair
  • Resection
  • Scaffold


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