The repair of horizontal cleavage tears yields higher complication rates compared to meniscectomy: a systematic review
Horizontal cleavage tears of the meniscus (HCTs) are primarily degenerative in nature, and, however, can be the result of trauma. Such tears account for 12–35% of all tear patterns and can be treated by partial meniscectomy or arthroscopic repair. The purpose of this review was to systematically assess the outcomes and complications for patients undergoing the surgical treatment of HCTs.
This review has been conducted according to the guidelines of Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses. The electronic databases PubMed, MEDLINE, and EMBASE were searched from data inception to December 30, 2018 for articles addressing the surgical treatment of HCTs. The Methodological Index for Non-randomized Studies was used to assess study quality. Data are presented descriptively.
Overall, 23 studies were identified, comprising of 702 patients (708 knees) with a mean age of 36.6 ± 9.9 years and a mean follow-up of 33.6 ± 19.6 months. The majority of patients were treated with a partial meniscectomy (59.0%), followed by repair (32.8%) and total meniscectomy (8.2%). Both meniscectomy and repair patients had improvements which surpassed minimal clinically important differences with regard to clinical (e.g. pain, function, daily living) and radiographic outcomes. The overall complication rate was 5.1%, primarily involving patients undergoing meniscal repair (12.9% of all knees undergoing a repair).
Although meniscal repair theoretically may provide improvement in biomechanical loading, patients undergoing repair had higher complication rates than those undergoing partial meniscectomy. Clinicians should consider the available implants in determining which tear patterns to repair and future studies with long-term follow-up are needed to investigate complications (e.g. secondary meniscal procedures) as well as the potential for delay in the development of osteoarthritis.
Level of evidence
KeywordsHorizontal cleavage tear Avascular zone Meniscus Knee Arthroscopy
Magnetic resonance imaging
Horizontal cleavage tears
Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses
Revised assessment of multiple systematic reviews
Journal of bone and joint surgery
Methodological Index for Non-Randomized Studies
Intraclass correlation coefficient
Randomized controlled trial
International knee documentation committee
Minimal clinically important difference
Visual Analog Score
Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score
NS performed the literature search. AS and TT performed the title, abstract, and full-text screening, the hand-search of references, data extraction, and wrote several drafts of the manuscript. SE, NS, CG, MK, MB, and BH thoroughly edited and provided guidance with respect to preparation of the manuscript. MK conceived the study and participated in its design and coordination. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
No funding was received for the implementation of this study.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors have no potential conflicts of interest to declare.
Ethical approval is not required.
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