Comparative Outcomes of All-Inside Versus Inside-Out Repair of Bucket-Handle Meniscal Tears: A Propensity-Matched Analysis

Brian T. Samuelsen, Nicholas R. Johnson, Mario Hevesi, Bruce A. Levy, Diane L. Dahm, Michael J. Stuart, Aaron J. Krych

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: There are limited data comparing the outcomes of all-inside versus inside-out meniscal repair techniques. Purpose: To assess failure rates and clinical outcomes after the surgical repair of bucket-handle meniscal tears utilizing either an all-inside or inside-out technique. Study Design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3. Methods: Patients with bucket-handle meniscal tears undergoing all-inside or inside-out repair at a single institution between 2003 and 2013 were analyzed. A total of 28 mensici repaired utilizing second-generation all-inside suturing devices and 42 menisci repaired using an inside-out technique were eligible for inclusion. Rigorous propensity matching was performed on the basis of age, sex, tear laterality, rim width, and concomitant anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR), resulting in a total of 40 patients equally distributed between the 2 repair techniques for comparison. Retear-free survival as well as preoperative and postoperative International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) and Tegner scores and physical examination findings were subsequently analyzed. Results: Twenty patients who underwent all-inside repair (14 male; mean age, 23.7 ± 6.7 years) were successfully propensity matched to 20 patients who underwent inside-out meniscal repair (15 male; mean age, 22.5 ± 7.6 years), with a mean retear-free follow-up of 4.4 years (range, 2.5-7.4 years). Four (20%) all-inside repairs and 4 (20%) inside-out repairs failed over the course of follow-up (P >.999), with a mean time to failure of 2.7 years (range, 1.3-4.4 years) and 5.0 years (range, 0.8-7.5 years), respectively (P =.25). Increasing patient age trended toward a decreased clinical retear rate, independent of the repair technique (hazard ratio, 0.86; P =.056). There were no significant differences in the Tegner scores, IKDC scores, or range of motion between the groups as a whole or when subcategorizing by age, sex, body mass index, tear complexity, rim width, isolated versus concomitant ACLR, or medial- versus lateral-sided repair. There were no complications in the all-inside group, while there was a 10% rate of minor complications in the inside-out group (P =.49). Conclusion: Overall, satisfactory clinical outcomes are achievable at short-term to midterm follow-up with both inside-out and all-inside repair techniques of bucket-handle meniscal tears in rigorously matched patients with similar meniscal tear patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOrthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018


  • arthroscopic surgery
  • knee
  • meniscal tear
  • surgical repair

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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