Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 310–322 | Cite as

Meniscal allograft transplantation. Part 1: systematic review of graft biology, graft shrinkage, graft extrusion, graft sizing, and graft fixation

  • Gonzalo Samitier
  • Eduard Alentorn-Geli
  • Dean C. Taylor
  • Brian Rill
  • Terrence Lock
  • Vasilius Moutzouros
  • Patricia KolowichEmail author



To provide a systematic review of the literature regarding five topics in meniscal allograft transplantation: graft biology, shrinkage, extrusion, sizing, and fixation.


A systematic literature search was conducted using the PubMed (MEDLINE), ScienceDirect, and EBSCO-CINAHL databases. Articles were classified only in one topic, but information contained could be reported into other topics. Information was classified according to type of study (animal, in vitro human, and in vivo human) and level of evidence (for in vivo human studies).


Sixty-two studies were finally included: 30 biology, 3 graft shrinkage, 11 graft extrusion, 17 graft size, and 6 graft fixation (some studies were categorized in more than one topic). These studies corresponded to 22 animal studies, 22 in vitro human studies, and 23 in vivo human studies (7 level II, 10 level III, and 6 level IV).


The principal conclusions were as follows: (a) Donor cells decrease after MAT and grafts are repopulated with host cells form synovium; (b) graft preservation alters collagen network (deep freezing) and causes cell apoptosis with loss of viable cells (cryopreservation); (c) graft shrinkage occurs mainly in lyophilized and gamma-irradiated grafts (less with cryopreservation); (d) graft extrusion is common but has no clinical/functional implications; (e) overall, MRI is not superior to plain radiograph for graft sizing; (f) graft width size matching is more important than length size matching; (g) height appears to be the most important factor influencing meniscal size; (h) bone fixation better restores contact mechanics than suture fixation, but there are no differences for pullout strength or functional results; and (i) suture fixation has more risk of graft extrusion compared to bone fixation.

Level of evidence

Systematic review of level II–IV studies, Level IV.


Meniscal allograft transplantation Graft biology Graft shrinkage Graft extrusion Graft sizing Graft fixation 


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Copyright information

© European Society of Sports Traumatology, Knee Surgery, Arthroscopy (ESSKA) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gonzalo Samitier
    • 1
  • Eduard Alentorn-Geli
    • 2
  • Dean C. Taylor
    • 2
  • Brian Rill
    • 1
  • Terrence Lock
    • 1
  • Vasilius Moutzouros
    • 1
  • Patricia Kolowich
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedics, Sports Medicine Division, Henry Ford Health SystemWilliam Clay Ford Center for Athletic MedicineDetroitUSA
  2. 2.Duke Sports MedicineDuke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA

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