Meniscus transplantation in an active population with moderate to severe cartilage damage



The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of meniscus allograft transplantation in an active patient population with moderate to severe cartilage damage and the procedure’s ability to allow sports participation postoperatively.


Forty-nine patients with moderate to severe cartilage damage who underwent meniscus allograft transplantation were included in this study; those with symptoms related to articular cartilage damage also underwent articular cartilage repair. Kaplan–Meier (KM) survival estimate, potential hazards to survival, and subjective clinical outcomes were analyzed. For KM survival, failure was defined as progression to knee arthroplasty, surgical removal of the meniscus transplant without revision, a self-reported follow-up pain level that was more than preoperative level, or constant moderate pain with no relief from non-operative treatment.


The mean follow-up time was 8.6 ± 4.2 years. The mean age at surgery was 45.3 ± 12.9 years. Meniscus transplantation was performed in 37 medial cases and 12 lateral cases. There were 41 patients with Outerbridge Grade IV and 8 with Grade III. Thirty-six (73.5 %) patients were able to participate in sporting activities postoperatively. Eleven (22.4 %) meniscus transplants failed at an average of 5.2 ± 4.4 years. The KM mean estimated survival time was 12.6 ± 0.7 years. No tested risks were found to affect sports participation or procedure success.


Meniscus transplantation is a viable surgical option for patients with severe cartilage damage and missing or irreparable menisci to provide significant improvements in pain and function levels in the medium to long term with the majority of patients achieving their goal of participation in sporting activities. These results indicate that symptomatic patients may be able to participate in sports activities for an average of 12.6 years following meniscus transplantation.

Level of evidence

Case series, Level IV.

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Correspondence to Kevin R. Stone.

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Stone, K.R., Pelsis, J.R., Surrette, S.T. et al. Meniscus transplantation in an active population with moderate to severe cartilage damage. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc 23, 251–257 (2015).

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  • Meniscus allograft transplantation
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Cartilage repair
  • Sports