Introduction. Traditional techniques can enlarge the medial tibiofemoral joint space width (JSW) for meniscal repairs, but a remnant ligament laxity may be developed. Alternatively, the debridement of the inner retinaculum layer may result in a balanced JSW without causing extra-ligament damage (retinaculum layers II and collateral ligament). Purpose. The purpose of this study was to determine whether a concentric arthroscopic debridement of the inner retinaculum layer increases the tibiofemoral JSW in patients with meniscal injuries. Secondarily, we determine whether the increase in JSW is symmetrical between compartments and describe the rate of complications and patient satisfaction. Method. Twenty middle-aged (15 male and five female) patients diagnosed with acute meniscal injury aged 36 ± 12 years were enrolled. The patients were submitted to an arthroscopic debridement of the inner layer of the knee retinaculum for both the medial and lateral compartments. The tibiofemoral JSW was measured intra-articularly using a custom instrument. A two-way ANOVA for repeated measures was used to compare the JSW. A Bland-Altman analysis and test-retest analysis were performed. Results. The JSW increased following the debridement of the inner retinaculum layer, for both the medial and lateral compartments p<0.001. No complications were identified, and the patients were satisfied with the intervention. The minimal detectable change and bias of the custom instrument were 0.06 mm and 0.02 mm, respectively. Conclusion. The debridement allows a clinically important (>1 mm) symmetric tibiofemoral JSW enlargement. The technique suggests favoring the diagnosis of meniscus injuries and manipulating arthroscopic instruments without secondary complications after one year.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine