John M. Marzo, MD J Am Acad Orthop Surg, Vol 17, No 5, May 2009,
Avulsion of the posterior horn of the medial meniscus can occur from acute trauma or chronic degeneration, leading to meniscus extrusion, articular cartilage loss, osteophyte formation, and medial joint space narrowing. With meniscus extrusion, the meniscus is unable to resist hoop stresses and cannot shield the adjacent articular cartilage from excessive axial load. Over time, this can lead to symptomatic knee osteoarthritis. Patients typically report pain, swelling, mechanical symptoms, and general functional loss. Although nonsurgical care may relieve symptoms, it is unlikely to alter either the natural history of meniscal loss or the fate of the medial compartment. Surgical repair of posterior horn meniscal avulsion is done in an attempt to restore the anatomy and biomechanical function of the meniscus, and to slow or prevent degenerative joint disease. Meniscal transplantation is reserved for salvage situations.