, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 287-292
Date: 11 Aug 2004

Displacement of the medial meniscus within the passive motion characteristics of the human knee joint: an RSA study in human cadaver knees

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The objective of this study was to validate an in vitro human cadaver knee-joint model for the evaluation of the meniscal movement during knee-joint flexion. The question was whether our model showed comparable meniscal displacements to those found in earlier meniscal movement studies in vivo. Furthermore, we determined the influence of tibial torque on the meniscal displacement during knee-joint flexion. Three tantalum beads were inserted in the medial meniscus of six human-cadaver joints. The knee joints were placed and loaded in a loading apparatus, and the movements of the beads were determined by means of RSA during knee-joint flexion and extension with and without internal tibial (IT) and external tibial (ET) torque. During flexion without tibial torque, all menisci moved in posterior and lateral direction. The anterior horn showed significantly greater excursions than the posterior horn in both posterior and lateral direction. Internal tibial torque caused an anterior displacement of the pathway on the tibial plateau. External tibial torque caused a posterior displacement of the pathway. External tibial torque restricted the meniscal displacement during the first 30° of knee-joint flexion. The displacements of the meniscus in this experiment were similar to the displacements described in the in vivo MRI studies. Furthermore, the application of tibial torque confirmed the relative immobility of the posterior horn of the meniscus. During external tibial torque, the posterior displacement of the pathway on the tibial plateau during the first 30° of flexion might be restricted by the attached knee-joint capsule or the femoral condyle. This model revealed representative meniscal displacements during simple knee-joint flexion and also during the outer limits of passive knee-joint motion.