Meniscus replacement refers to local transplants or implants to help restore knee function after the native meniscus has been removed.
A Meniscus transplant (alograft) with donor bone block.
Replacing a destroyed meniscus
A transplant is human tissue from a donor while an implant is a synthesised material.
Once a meniscus has been removed a patient is still able to cope and even return to sport, but the shock absorption will have been lost and the forces through the knee will have been changed. The patient may notice that the knee thrusts outwards with each step. Over the years it is likely that the knee may start to bow (varus deformity), and arthritis may develop and cause pain. So younger patients may seek to have some kind of replacement to help the knee to last longer without these complications. Replacement may be:
- a meniscus transplant from a donor (meniscal allograft)
- an artificial spacer (collagen meniscal implant/collagen scaffold)
A further option to improve knee function when a meniscus has been removed is 'osteotomy', where a wedge in the bone of the tibia or/and femur allows the alignment of the limb to be improved. This may be in addition to the replacement procedure, or in place of it.