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Am J Sports Med. 2007 Jan;35(1):34-42. Epub 2006 Aug 21.

Effect of lateral meniscal allograft sizing on contact mechanics of the lateral tibial plateau: an experimental study in human cadaveric knee joints.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University Hospital, 66 421 Homburg/Saar, Germany.



A mismatch of the original lateral meniscus and a lateral meniscus allograft by inaccurate preoperative radiographic sizing can have significant consequences on ultimate function.


The size of a lateral meniscal allograft affects the contact mechanics of the femoral condyle on the tibial plateau.


Controlled laboratory study.


Four right and 2 left knees were tested as intact joints, after meniscectomy, and after replantation with the original menisci and 16 right or 9 left human, fresh-frozen lateral meniscal allografts, respectively. The allografts were allocated into 7 groups according to their outer and inner anteroposterior and mediolateral diameters. Biomechanical testing was performed as compressive loadings with constrained motions in extension and 30 degrees of flexion. Measurements were done with Fuji pressure-sensitive films for contact parameters of the direct femorotibial and meniscotibial contact.


Oversized lateral meniscal allografts led to greater forces across the articular cartilage, whereas undersized allografts resulted in normal forces across the articular cartilage but greater forces across the meniscus. Two undersized transplants failed. Most of the contact parameters of allografts 10% smaller or larger than the original menisci were in the range of the intact knees. The knees after meniscectomy showed greater forces of the direct femorotibial contact areas than did the intact knees and the knees with the replanted original menisci. The contact mechanics of the knees with the replanted original menisci were close to normal.


The size of a lateral meniscal allograft has a significant effect on the contact mechanics of the tibial plateau.


Preoperative radiographic sizing needs to be performed precisely to identify a suitable lateral meniscal allograft. A mismatch may be the reason for failure of the allograft or subsequent development of degenerative changes. A mismatch on graft selection of less than 10% of the size of the original meniscus may be acceptable.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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