Lawrence S. Miller, MD
Director, Cooper Bone and Joint Institute
The meniscus is a fibrous cartilage tissue that sits between the thigh bone (femur) and shin bone (tibia). The meniscus is attached to the tibia and helps distribute weight across the joint. When a knee joint has lost its meniscus, the hyaline cartilage (smooth covering of the bone) takes the brunt of the force of everyday movement and stress within the joint. This increased force leads to a wearing away of the surface.
What is a meniscal transplant?
Meniscal transplant is a surgical procedure that replaces the meniscus of the knee joint with a human cadaver meniscus.
Candidates for a meniscal transplant include individuals who are young (40 years old or younger) and have suffered from a meniscal injury and the meniscus has been removed from the knee. There are strict criteria regarding who can become a candidate including minimal to no arthritic changes within the knee joint, no mal-alignment and no ligament deficiency.
How well does a meniscal transplant work?
Meniscal transplantation has been a viable option for surgery for well over 16 years. The procedure works well for pain relief on those who have had symptoms of pain with minimal or no arthritic changes. Individuals with arthritic changes within the knee joint prior to surgery have had poor outcomes.
This surgery is generally done in an outpatient setting under general anesthesia using a minimally invasive, arthroscopically assisted procedure. Small incisions are required for insertion and suturing of the meniscus.