Meniscal allograft transplantation (MAT) can be a safe, effective treatment for meniscal deficiency resulting in knee dysfunction, leading to osteoarthritis (OA) without proper treatment with 5-year functional success rates (75%-90%). While different grafts and techniques have generally proven safe and effective, complications include shrinkage, extrusion, progression of joint pathology, and failure.
The objective of this study was to assess the functional outcomes after MAT using three different clinically-relevant methods in a preclinical canine model. The study was designed to test the hypothesis that fresh meniscal-osteochondral allograft transplantation would be associated with significantly better function and joint health compared with fresh-viable or fresh-frozen meniscus-only allograft transplantations.
Three months after meniscal release to induce meniscus-deficient medial compartment disease, research hounds (n = 12) underwent MAT using meniscus allografts harvested from matched dogs. Three MAT conditions (n = 4 each) were compared: frozen meniscus-fresh-frozen meniscal allograft with menisco-capsular suture repair; fresh meniscus-fresh viable meniscal allograft (Missouri Osteochondral Preservation System (MOPS)-preservation for 30 days) with menisco-tibial ligament repair; fresh menisco-tibial-fresh, viable meniscal-tibial-osteochondral allografts (MOPS-preservation for 30 days) with menisco-tibial ligament preservation and autogenous bone marrow aspirate concentrate on OCA bone. Assessment was performed up to 6 months after MAT. Pain, comfortable range of motion, imaging, and arthroscopic scores as well histological and cell viability findings were superior (P < .05) for the fresh menisco-tibial group compared with the two other groups.
Novel meniscal preservation and implantation techniques with fresh, MOPS-preserved, viable meniscal-osteochondral allografts with menisco-tibial ligament preservation appears to be safe and effective for restoring knee function and joint health in this preclinical model. This has the potential to significantly improve outcomes after MAT.