To compare effect of meniscus repair and meniscectomy in patients undergoing ACL reconstruction in terms of clinical instability and radiological tunnel widening 1 year after surgery.
Introduction: Meniscectomy has been shown to have detrimental effects on knee in terms of increased contact pressure in femoral and tibial condyles, rotary instability and early changes of osteoarthritis. These changes are exaggerated in ACL deficient knees. Patients present to the surgeon at different times after injury ranging from 3 weeks to one year. Depending upon status of meniscal tears and its reparability at the time of surgery, surgeon has to choose between meniscectomy and meniscus repair during ACL reconstruction. We tried to compare meniscus repair and meniscectomy in terms of knee stability and radiological tunnel widening after ACL reconstruction in short term follow up.
Methodology: 30 patients who underwent ACL reconstruction were selected after going through selection criteria, were divided between meniscus repair group and meniscus excision group. Meniscus tears, which were in the red red zone were repaired with inside out, all inside and outside in methods, depending upon their location from anterior to posterior zones. Those tears which presented late were irreducible, avascular and became loose body scuffing articular cartilage, were excised with shaver. All patients underwent standard ACL reconstruction with hamstring graft. Patients were evaluated clinically and radiologically at 3 months 6 months and 12 months.
Results: Group 1 had 14 patients who underwent meniscus repair and group 2 had 16 patients who underwent meniscectomy during ACL reconstruction. Evaluation with Lachman’s test showed that, 14% patients (2 out of 14) from Group 1 had grade 2 Lachman test. Thirty seven % of group 2 had grade 2 Lachman test though the difference was not significant (p = 0.151). Tibial tunnel diameter in meniscectomy group increased from 8 mm to 11.86mm (S.D= 1.11.) at 12 months. Tibial diameter in group 2 increased from 8 mm to 12.28 mm (S.D. = 1.52), (p= 0.394).
Conclusion: Whenever ACL tear is associated with medial or lateral meniscal tears, meniscal repair is the preferred treatment over meniscectomy. The amount of tunnel widening is higher when meniscus is excised as compared to meniscal repair. The anterior tibial translation remains higher when meniscus is excised during ACL reconstruction, though short term functional results are same.