The repair of horizontal cleavage tears yields higher complication rates compared to meniscectomy: a systematic review Academic Article uri icon

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  • PURPOSE: Horizontal cleavage tears of the meniscus (HCTs) are primarily degenerative in nature, and, however, can be the result of trauma. Such tears account for 12-35% of all tear patterns and can be treated by partial meniscectomy or arthroscopic repair. The purpose of this review was to systematically assess the outcomes and complications for patients undergoing the surgical treatment of HCTs. METHODS: This review has been conducted according to the guidelines of Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses. The electronic databases PubMed, MEDLINE, and EMBASE were searched from data inception to December 30, 2018 for articles addressing the surgical treatment of HCTs. The Methodological Index for Non-randomized Studies was used to assess study quality. Data are presented descriptively. RESULTS: Overall, 23 studies were identified, comprising of 702 patients (708 knees) with a mean age of 36.6 ± 9.9 years and a mean follow-up of 33.6 ± 19.6 months. The majority of patients were treated with a partial meniscectomy (59.0%), followed by repair (32.8%) and total meniscectomy (8.2%). Both meniscectomy and repair patients had improvements which surpassed minimal clinically important differences with regard to clinical (e.g. pain, function, daily living) and radiographic outcomes. The overall complication rate was 5.1%, primarily involving patients undergoing meniscal repair (12.9% of all knees undergoing a repair). CONCLUSION: Although meniscal repair theoretically may provide improvement in biomechanical loading, patients undergoing repair had higher complication rates than those undergoing partial meniscectomy. Clinicians should consider the available implants in determining which tear patterns to repair and future studies with long-term follow-up are needed to investigate complications (e.g. secondary meniscal procedures) as well as the potential for delay in the development of osteoarthritis. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level IV.


  • Shanmugaraj, Ajaykumar
  • Tejpal, Tushar
  • Ekhtiari, Seper
  • Gohal, Chetan
  • Horner, Nolan
  • Hanson, Beate
  • Khan, Moin
  • Bhandari, Mohit

publication date

  • June 11, 2019