Comparison of Kinematics and Tibiofemoral Contact Pressures for Native and Transplanted Lateral Menisci

Patrick C. McCulloch, Donald Dolce, Hugh L. Jones, Andrea Gale, Michael G. Hogen, Jason Alder, Jeremiah E. Palmer, Philip C. Noble

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Lateral meniscus transplantation is a proven treatment option for the meniscus-deficient knee, yet little is known about meniscal kinematics, strain, and tibiofemoral contact pressure changes after transplantation or the effect of altered root position in lateral meniscus transplantation. Purpose: To compare the native lateral meniscal kinematics, strain, and tibiofemoral contact pressures to a best-case scenario meniscus transplant with perfectly matched size and position and to determine how sensitive these factors are to subtle changes in shape and position by using a nonanatomic meniscus transplant position. Study Design: Controlled laboratory study. Methods: The lateral menisci of 8 cadaveric knees were circumferentially implanted with radiopaque spherical markers. They were mounted to a testing apparatus applying muscle and ground-reaction forces. The meniscus was evaluated at 0°, 30°, 90°, and 115° of knee flexion using Roentgen stereophotogrammetric analysis (RSA), with a pressure sensor affixed to the lateral tibial plateau. Measurements were recorded for 3 states: the native lateral meniscus, an anatomic autograft transplant, and a nonanatomic autograft transplant with an anteriorized posterior root position. Results: After transplantation, there was less posterior displacement in both the anatomic and nonanatomic transplant states compared with the native meniscus, but this was not significant. The largest lateral translation in the native state was 2.38 ± 1.58 mm at the anterolateral region from 0° to 90°, which was increased to 3.28 ± 1.39 mm (P =.25) and 3.12 ± 1.18 mm (P =.30) in the anatomic and nonanatomic transplant states, respectively. Internal deformations of the transplant states were more constrained, suggesting less compliance. The native meniscus distributed load over 223 mm2, while both the anatomic (160 mm2) and nonanatomic (102 mm2) states concentrated pressure anteriorly to the tibial plateau centroid. Conclusion: This study is the first to characterize kinematics in the native lateral meniscus compared with a transplanted state utilizing RSA. Results demonstrate increased meniscal constraint and pressure concentrations even after an ideal size and position matched transplantation, which further increased with a nonanatomic posterior root position. Clinical Relevance: The results show that kinematics are similar in both transplanted states when compared with the native meniscus at various flexion angles. Because both transplanted states were more constrained with less deformation compared with the native state, this should allow for relatively safe postoperative range of motion. However, in the transplanted states, peak pressures were distributed over a smaller area and shifted anteriorly. This pattern was exacerbated in the nonanatomic state compared with anatomic. This could have detrimental effects with regard to articular cartilage degeneration, and ultimately result in a failed transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOrthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 17 2016


  • knee
  • meniscal kinematics
  • meniscus
  • meniscus transplantation
  • strain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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