Objective: To assess the midterm effects of meniscal transplants on clinical and functional knee scores and on the return to sports rate in soccer players.
Design: Retrospective case series.
Setting: Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Clínica del Pilar, Barcelona, Spain.
Patients: Fifty-nine meniscal transplants in 57 patients between 2001 and 2006 were reviewed. Only soccer players with a history of meniscectomy and no other ipsilateral knee surgeries before or after the meniscal transplant were included in the study. Fifteen patients met inclusion criteria.
Intervention: Main outcomes were obtained from the sample after meniscal transplant and compared with preoperative data, with a mean follow-up of 36 months. A subgroup analysis was performed considering the degree of chondral lesion (no lesions, grade I-II, and grade III-IV).
Main Outcome Measures: Scores on Lysholm, Subjective International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) form, and visual analog scale (VAS) scale for pain and information regarding return to play.
Results: One of the 15 patients had a graft failure (6.6%) after a daily life accident. Twelve of the 14 patients included in the analysis (85.7%) returned to play soccer. Patients demonstrated significant improvements for Lysholm (P = 0.006), Subjective IKDC Form (P = 0.001), and VAS for pain (P < 0.0001) scores after the meniscal transplant. Depending on the degree of chondral lesion (subgroup analysis), there were no significant interactions for Lysholm, Subjective IKDC Form, and VAS for pain scores.
Conclusions: Arthroscopic meniscal transplants improve knee symptoms and knee function and allow return to play in soccer players, regardless of the degree of chondral lesion.