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Effect of Meniscus Replacement Fixation Technique on Restoration of Knee Contact Mechanics and Stability

D.D. D’Lima*, P.C. Chen, O. Kessler, H.R. Hoenecke*, C.W. Colwell Jr.∗§

* Scripps, La Jolla, CA USA
UCSD, San Diego, CA, USA
Swiss Arthros Clinic, Zurich, Switzerland
§ This paper is a tribute to Prof. Pin Tong in honor of his 72th birthday, and edited by Dr. David Lam.

Molecular & Cellular Biomechanics 2011, 8(2), 123-134.


The menisci are important biomechanical components of the knee. We developed and validated a finite element model of meniscal replacement to assess the effect of surgical fixation technique on contact behavior and knee stability. The geometry of femoral and tibial articular cartilage and menisci was segmented from magnetic resonance images of a normal cadaver knee using MIMICS (Materialise, Leuven, Belgium). A finite element mesh was generated using HyperWorks (Altair Inc, Santa Ana, CA). A finite element solver (Abaqus v6.9, Simulia, Providence, RI) was used to compute contact area and stresses under axial loading and to assess stability (reaction force generated during anteroposterior translation of the femur). The natural and surgical attachments of the meniscal horns and peripheral rim were simulated using springs. After total meniscectomy, femoral contact area decreased by 26% with a concomitant increase in average contact stresses (36%) and peak contact stresses (33%). Replacing the meniscus without suturing the horns did little to restore femoral contact area. Suturing the horns increased contact area and reduced peak contact stresses. Increasing suture stiffness correlated with increased meniscal contact stresses as a greater proportion of tibiofemoral load was transferred to the meniscus. A small incremental benefit was seen of simulated bone plug fixation over the suture construct with the highest stiffness (50N/mm). Suturing the rim did little to change contact conditions. The nominal anteroposterior stiffness reduced by 3.1 N/mm after meniscectomy. In contrast to contact area and stress, stiffness of the horn fixation sutures had a smaller effect on anteroposterior stability. On the other hand suturing the rim of the meniscus affected anteroposterior stability to a much larger degree. This model emphasizes the importance of the meniscus in knee biomechanics. Appropriate meniscal replacement fixation techniques are likely to be critical to the clinical success of meniscal replacement. While contact conditions are mainly sensitive to meniscus horn fixation, the stability of the knee under anteroposterior shear loads appeared to be more sensitive to meniscal rim fixation. This model may also be useful in predicting the effect of biomaterial mechanical properties and meniscal replacement shape on knee contact conditions.


Cite This Article

D’Lima, D., Chen, P., Kessler, O., Hoenecke, H., Jr., C. C. (2011). Effect of Meniscus Replacement Fixation Technique on Restoration of Knee Contact Mechanics and Stability. Molecular & Cellular Biomechanics, 8(2), 123–134.

cc This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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