Comparative Outcomes of Radial and Bucket-Handle Meniscal Tear Repair: A Propensity-Matched Analysis

Isabella T. Wu, Mario Hevesi, Vishal S. Desai, Christopher L. Camp, Diane L. Dahm, Bruce A Levy, Michael J. Stuart, Aaron Krych

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Full-thickness radial meniscal tears render the meniscus nonfunctional and have historically been treated with partial meniscectomy. As preservative techniques evolve for radial repair, comparisons with other tear patterns are necessary to evaluate repair efficacy and prognosis. Purpose: To assess clinical outcomes and reoperation rates of radial meniscal repair and to compare them to bucket-handle meniscal repair. Study Design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3. Methods: Radial and bucket-handle meniscal tears without concurrent root injuries undergoing surgical repair at a single institution between 2007 and 2015 were analyzed, including both all-inside and inside-out suturing techniques. Propensity matching was performed on the basis of age at surgery, sex, meniscus laterality, body mass index (BMI), and concomitant anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) using a comparison pool of 70 bucket-handle repairs. Reoperation-free survival rates and Tegner, visual analog scale (VAS) for pain, and International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) scores were analyzed. Results: Twenty-four patients (18 male, 6 female; mean age, 22.8 ± 11.9 years) who underwent repair of a radial meniscal tear were followed for a mean of 3.5 years (range, 2.0-6.3 years). Significant postoperative improvements in VAS scores at rest and with use and IKDC scores were noted postoperatively (P <.001). Five patients (20.8%) required a reoperation. Subsequently, 18 patients with radial tears (mean age, 19.1 ± 9.1 years; 12 male; mean BMI, 27.0 ± 6.2 kg/m2; 3 medial; 11 ACLR) were propensity matched to 18 patients with bucket-handle tears (mean age, 20.8 ± 5.1 years; 13 male; mean BMI, 25.0 ± 3.5 kg/m2; 3 medial; 11 ACLR). The matched radial and bucket-handle groups demonstrated similar (P =.17) reoperation-free survival rates at 2 years (88.9% and 94.4%, respectively) and 5 years (77.8% and 87.7%, respectively). VAS and IKDC scores improved significantly after surgery (P <.001), with no difference noted between the groups (P ≥.17). Patients with radial and bucket-handle meniscal repairs achieved mean postoperative Tegner scores (6.6 and 6.6, respectively) not significantly different from their preinjury levels (6.9 and 6.7, respectively) (P ≥.32). Conclusion: Satisfactory clinical outcomes are achievable for radial meniscal tear repair at short-term follow-up. In a robustly matched comparison, radial and bucket-handle meniscal tears demonstrate similar improvements in VAS and IKDC scores, restoration of preoperative Tegner scores, and acceptable reoperation rates. Full-thickness radial meniscal tears should be considered for repair.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2653-2660
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018


  • bucket-handle tear
  • IKDC
  • matched
  • meniscus
  • radial tear
  • Tegner

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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