Lateral Meniscal Tears in Young Patients: A Comparison of Meniscectomy and Surgical Repair

Nicholas C. Duethman, Ryan R. Wilbur, Bryant M. Song, Michael J. Stuart, Bruce A. Levy, Christopher L. Camp, Aaron J. Krych

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Meniscal tears are common in active patients, but treatment trends and surgical outcomes in young patients with lateral meniscal tears are lacking. Purpose: To evaluate treatment trends, outcomes, and failure rates in young patients with lateral meniscal tears. Study Design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3. Methods: Patients aged ≤25 years treated surgically for isolated lateral meniscal tears from 2001 to 2017 were identified. Treatment trends were compared over time. International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) scores and failure rates were compared by treatment modality (meniscectomy vs meniscal repair). Failure was defined as reoperation, symptomatic osteoarthritis, or a severely abnormal IKDC score. Univariate regression analyses were performed to predict failure and IKDC scores based on treatment, type and location of tear, or extent of meniscectomy. Results: Included were 217 patients (226 knees) with a mean age of 17.4 years (range, 7-25 years); of these patients, 144 knees (64%) were treated with meniscectomy and 82 knees (36%) with meniscal repair. Treatment with repair increased over time compared with meniscectomy (P <.001). At a minimum 2-year follow-up (mean, 6.1 ± 3.9 years), 107 patients (110 knees) had IKDC scores, and analysis indicated that although scores in both groups improved from pre- to postoperatively (repair: from 69.5 ± 13.3 to 97.4 ± 4.3; meniscectomy: from 75.7 ± 9.0 to 97.3 ± 3.9; P <.001 for both), improvement in IKDC score was greater after repair (27.9 ± 13.9) versus meniscectomy (21.6 ± 9.4) (P =.005). Included in the failure analysis were 184 patients (192 knees) at a mean follow-up of 8.4 ± 4.4 years. The rates of reoperation, symptomatic osteoarthritis, and failure were not significantly different between the meniscectomy and repair groups. Conclusion: An increase was seen in the rate of isolated lateral meniscal tear repair in young patients. IKDC score improvement was greater after repair than meniscectomy, although postoperative IKDC scores were similar. Symptomatic arthritis, reoperation, and failure rates were similar between groups; however, there was a trend for increased arthritis symptoms in patients treated with meniscectomy, especially total meniscectomy. Treatment modality, type and location of tear, and amount of meniscus removed were not predictive of final IKDC scores or failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOrthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2021


  • lateral meniscus
  • meniscal repair
  • meniscectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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