Securing Transplanted Meniscal Allografts Using Bone Plugs Results in Lower Risks of Graft Failure and Reoperations: A Meta-analysis

Zachariah Gene Wing Ow, Chin Kai Cheong, Hao Han Hai, Cheng Han Ng, Dean Wang, Aaron J. Krych, Daniel B.F. Saris, Keng Lin Wong, Heng An Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Meniscal allograft transplant (MAT) is an important treatment option for young patients with deficient menisci; however, there is a lack of consensus on the optimal method of allograft fixation. Hypothesis: The various methods of MAT fixation have measurable and significant differences in outcomes. Study Design: Meta-analysis; Level of evidence, 4. Methods: A single-arm meta-analysis of studies reporting graft failure, reoperations, and other clinical outcomes after MAT was performed. Studies were stratified by suture-only, bone plug, and bone bridge fixation methods. Proportionate rates of failure and reoperation for each fixation technique were pooled with a mixed-effects model, after which reconstruction of relative risks with confidence intervals was performed using the Katz logarithmic method. Results: A total of 2604 patients underwent MAT. Weighted mean follow-up was 4.3 years (95% CI, 3.2-5.6 years). During this follow-up period, graft failure rates were 6.2% (95% CI, 3.2%-11.6%) for bone plug fixation, 6.9% (95% CI, 4.5%-10.3%) for suture-only fixation, and 9.3% (95% CI, 6.2%-13.9%) for bone bridge fixation. Transplanted menisci secured using bone plugs displayed a lower risk of failure compared with menisci secured via bone bridges (RR = 0.97; 95% CI, 0.94-0.99; P =.02). Risks of failure were not significantly different when comparing suture fixation to bone bridge (RR = 1.02; 95% CI, 0.99-1.06; P =.12) and bone plugs (RR = 0.99; 95% CI, 0.96-1.02; P =.64). Allografts secured using bone plugs were at a lower risk of requiring reoperations compared with those secured using sutures (RR = 0.91; 95% CI, 0.87-0.95; P <.001), whereas allografts secured using bone bridges had a higher risk of reoperation when compared with those secured using either sutures (RR = 1.28; 95% CI, 1.19-1.38; P <.001) or bone plugs (RR = 1.41; 95% CI, 1.32-1.51; P <.001). Improvements in Lysholm and International Knee Documentation Committee scores were comparable among the different groups. Conclusion: This meta-analysis demonstrates that bone plug fixation of transplanted meniscal allografts carries a lower risk of failure than the bone bridge method and has a lower risk of requiring subsequent operations than both suture-only and bone bridge methods of fixation. This suggests that the technique used in the fixation of a transplanted meniscal allograft is an important factor in the clinical outcomes of patients receiving MATs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4008-4018
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number14
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • meniscal allograft transplant
  • meniscal injury
  • meta-analysis
  • orthopaedic surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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