Meniscus transplantation and implants
Our meniscuses are between the femur and tibia bones that form our knee joint. There are two meniscuses, which are medial and lateral, in each knee. They are special C-shaped tissues. It prevents abrasion of the cartilage tissue on our bones, adapts two bones to each other, provides lubricity as well as absorbs shocks from the incoming loads. In short, our meniscuses are precious, necessary and important tissues, like seals or shock absorbers, in our knees.
When meniscus tissues are torn, they cannot self-repair either. Sections of the meniscus tissues ensuring adaptation of 2 bones are in triangular shape and blood vessels are around the meniscuses.
Proper tears close to the blood vessels can be fixed by suturing but in complex tears which are not reached by blood vessels or cannot be sutured, it is obligatory to remove torn part of the meniscus. It is likely that torn meniscuses harm knee cartilages.
If meniscus tissue is missing from our knees, it is known that load on our cartilages will increase proportionally. Thus, many studies are being conducted around the world for replacing such deficiency. Today, meniscus implants have been developed in order to replace missing part of the meniscus. They are made of polyurethane material and sutured inside the joint after cutting with size equal to the size of the missing meniscus part. The aim is to make sure that multi potent cells are taken into its special scaffold shape and form a meniscus like tissue. There are no results related to long term follow-up of meniscus implants by the body in 5 years. It has been applied to humans since 2008. If missing part of the meniscus is bigger than 4 cm and no surrounding meniscus tissue is left, meniscus implants cannot be applied.
Since meniscus transplantations will not be capable of achieving functions of the remaining meniscus tissue in the event that more than 70% of the meniscus is removed, early arthritis in joint is an expected result. Therefore, replacement of the meniscus tissue can only be possible with fresh-frozen meniscus allografts. Unfortunately, meniscus allografts are obtained from tissue banks that are not available in our country yet. It is requested that the meniscus allograft is in suitable size. It is a surgery with pretty good results if no reactions are given by implanted meniscus allografts and they are fed.