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Am J Sports Med. 2016 Apr;44(4):838-43. doi: 10.1177/0363546515623511. Epub 2016 Jan 27.

Revision Meniscal Surgery in Children and Adolescents: Risk Factors and Mechanisms for Failure and Subsequent Management.

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University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA.
University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA Rady Children's Hospital and Health Center, San Diego, California, USA.
University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA Rady Children's Hospital and Health Center, San Diego, California, USA



The mechanisms of failure and risk factors for failed meniscal surgery in children and adolescents have not been well described.


To investigate the risk factors, mechanisms of failure, and subsequent operative management for revision meniscal surgery in a pediatric population, as well as to identify the local incidence of failed meniscal surgery.


Case-control study; Level of evidence, 3.


All patients younger than 20 years who had arthroscopic management for meniscal injuries at a single institution between 2008 and 2012 underwent retrospective review. Demographic data and intraoperative findings at the time of the initial surgery were documented. All patients undergoing a second procedure on the same meniscus were further analyzed. Multivariate logistic regression with purposeful selection was performed to identify independent risk factors for revision meniscal surgery.


Arthroscopic knee surgery was performed on 293 patients and 324 menisci, including 129 primary repairs, 149 primary partial meniscectomies, and 46 discoid saucerizations ± stabilization. At a mean of 40 months (range, 19-62 months) after surgery, 13% of all menisci required a revision procedure. The primary repair cohort had the highest failure rate (18%), followed by the primary discoid saucerization cohort (15%) and the partial meniscectomy cohort (7%). Multivariate analysis indicated that meniscal repair was predictive of retear (odds ratio, 2.04 [95% CI, 1.01-4.1]; P = .046), and children with an open physis and a bucket-handle tear had the highest retear rate of 46% (P = .039). Independent variables shown to have no significant relationship to revision meniscal surgery included age, sex, body mass index, extremity side, laterality (medial-lateral), time to repair, tear location, and associated ligament reconstruction. The most common indication for revision surgery was an acute reinjury during intense physical activity. Revision procedures were performed at a mean of 14 months after the index procedure, and the majority of failures (83%) were identified within 1 year. Of patients undergoing a revision surgery, 44% underwent a further debridement, whereas 56% underwent a repair.


The success rate of meniscal surgery is 87% in children and adolescents. The revision rate was higher when repair was attempted in the index procedure, particularly in those children with open physes and bucket-handle tears. Most failures are the result of an acute reinjury within 1 year, and nearly half will require debridement of the retorn meniscus.


adolescents; children; knee; meniscus; meniscus tear; pediatric sports medicine; repair; revision

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