It has been recognized for many years that the vascular supply to the meniscus has been extremely important in the potential for healing of a repaired meniscus. Early experimental work confirmed that meniscal defects that communicated with the peripheral vascular network would heal if repaired. However, those tears that did not communicate with the vascular bed would not heal even if repaired. Unfortunately, there has been no clinically applicable technique for evaluating blood flow in the torn meniscus. Experimental procedures using laser Doppler flowmetry have shown this to be a precise and simple tool for the evaluation of meniscal blood flow. Applications of this technique in the clinical situation show great promise in enabling the surgeon to make a decision to repair or remove the torn meniscus based on the blood flow in the remaining vascular bed.
From the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee.
Reprint requests to Thomas J. Limbird, M.D., Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Vanderbilt University Medical Center North, D-4208, Nashville, TN 37232–2550.
Received June 5, 1989.