Removal of the meniscus leads to progressive degenerative arthritis of the knee on a long-term basis. Therefore, meniscal allograft transplantation has been proposed as an alternative to meniscectomy. Although several experimental and clinical studies have documented that meniscal allografts show capsular ingrowth in meniscectomized knees, it remains to be established whether meniscal allograft transplantation can prevent degenerative changes after meniscectomy. Part 1 of this Current Concepts review will discuss the function, anatomy, and composition of the meniscus, followed by the history of surgery of meniscal tears and the healing of meniscal allografts in experimental and clinical studies. In addition, issues concerning preservation techniques, immunological reactions, sizing, disease transmission, indications, surgical technique, graft fixation, rehabilitation, and complications, will be taken into consideration. It can be concluded that the use of meniscal allografts in clinical practice has progressed to a point where relief of pain may be expected for the short-term.

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