Patient Education

To help you understand and navigate through your orthopedic health decisions, we have created a patient education section. Please select from one of the categories below to learn more about your condition or procedure.
Meniscal Transplants

Meniscal transplantation is a surgical procedure aimed at replacing a damaged or removed meniscus in the knee with donor tissue. The meniscus is a C-shaped cartilage structure that acts as a cushion between the thighbone (femur) and shinbone (tibia), helping to absorb shock and stabilize the knee joint. When the meniscus is severely damaged or removed due to injury or degenerative conditions, it can lead to pain, swelling, and increased risk of osteoarthritis. Here’s an overview of meniscal transplants, including indications, procedure, recovery, and outcomes:

Meniscal transplantation is considered in cases where:

  • Previous Meniscectomy: Individuals who have undergone partial or total removal of the meniscus (meniscectomy) and continue to experience significant symptoms.
  • Younger Patients: Particularly in younger, active individuals with symptomatic meniscal deficiency who are at higher risk of developing arthritis without intervention.
  • Chronic Pain: Persistent knee pain, swelling, and instability despite conservative treatments.


Donor Matching:

  • Donor meniscus tissue is carefully matched based on size and compatibility with the recipient’s knee anatomy.

Surgical Implantation:

  • Arthroscopic Approach: Most meniscal transplantations are performed arthroscopically, involving small incisions and the use of a tiny camera (arthroscope) to guide the procedure.
  • Fixation: The donor meniscus is secured in place using sutures or specialized fixation devices to ensure stability and proper alignment.
  • Rehabilitation: Physical therapy and rehabilitation are crucial post-surgery to restore strength, flexibility, and function of the knee joint.


  • Initial Recovery: Patients typically use crutches and wear a brace to protect the knee immediately after surgery.
  • Physical Therapy: Gradual progression of physical therapy exercises to improve range of motion, strength, and knee function.
  • Return to Activities: Full recovery and return to normal activities may take several months, with a gradual increase in physical activity under the guidance of a healthcare provider.

Outcomes & Considerations

  • Pain Relief: Many patients experience significant pain relief and improved knee function following meniscal transplantation.
  • Joint Preservation: The procedure aims to preserve the knee joint and delay or prevent the onset of osteoarthritis.
  • Long-Term Success: Success rates vary but are generally favorable in properly selected candidates, with improvement in symptoms and function sustained over the long term.

Risks and Complications

  • Infection: Risk of infection, although rare, is a concern following any surgical procedure.
  • Re-tear: There is a risk of re-tearing the transplanted meniscus, especially during the early recovery period.
  • Joint Stiffness: Some individuals may experience temporary joint stiffness and limited range of motion post-surgery.


  • Patient Selection: Candidates for meniscal transplantation are carefully selected based on age, activity level, severity of symptoms, and overall knee health.
  • Alternative Treatments: Before undergoing transplantation, conservative treatments such as physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and corticosteroid injections are typically exhausted.


Meniscal transplantation is a specialized surgical procedure aimed at restoring knee function and reducing symptoms in individuals with symptomatic meniscal deficiency. While it can provide significant benefits in terms of pain relief and joint preservation, it is important to carefully consider the potential risks, benefits, and rehabilitation requirements with a healthcare provider. Personalized evaluation and treatment planning are essential to achieve optimal outcomes following meniscal transplantation.

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