The value of meniscal repair is well established. Several all-inside arthroscopic techniques have become available to achieve this goal. One such technique involves the use of a biodegradable polylactic acid tack, which has made repair technically easier to perform. This study evaluates the 2-year results of arthroscopic meniscal repair using this device.

Retrospective case series.

We reviewed charts of 38 patients who had undergone 39 meniscal repairs with the bioabsorbable arrow. All procedures were performed by one of 4 fellowship-trained sports medicine orthopaedic surgeons in 1 of 2 affiliated hospitals, with a minimum follow-up of 2 years. Review consisted of evaluation of patient records, interview, and clinical examination by an independent examiner. Lysholm and Tegner knee scores were recorded. Complications and clinical failure, defined as reoperation, were noted.

The average age of the patients was 29.9 years. The ratio of medial to lateral meniscal repair was 5:1. Twenty-one patients underwent concurrent anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, and in this subgroup, there were no clinical failures. In the remaining group, isolated meniscal repairs in stable knees, the clinical failure rate was 7% (2 reoperations). Local soft-tissue complications occurred in 31.6% of patients, including 2 with arrow migration through the skin. These symptoms typically resolve over several months.

The availability of sutureless all-inside absorbable techniques for meniscal repair has made the procedure technically easier to perform arthroscopically. In our patients, local complications related to device migration, device prominence, and soft-tissue inflammation associated with absorption of the device were common (31.6%). These complications were usually transient. We emphasize the importance of selecting the correct length of device so as to minimize these effects. As with other meniscal repair techniques, a higher success rate was found in knees undergoing concurrent anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. Our results show a clinical success rate using an absorbable all-inside technique with an absorbable device comparable to reported results using established inside-out techniques.

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