Background: Injury or loss of the meniscus generally leads to degenerative osteoarthritic changes in the knee joint. However, the treatment options for symptomatic patients with total meniscectomy are limited. Therefore, we developed a novel, anatomically shaped, total meniscal implant made of polycarbonate urethane. Purpose: To evaluate the in vivo performance of this novel total meniscal implant. The assessment particularly focused on the implant's response to long-term physiological loading in a goat model and its chondroprotective capacity in comparison to clinically relevant controls. Study Design: Controlled laboratory study. Methods: Surgery was performed to the stifle joint of 26 female Saanen goats, subdivided into 4 groups: implant, allograft, total meniscectomy, and sham surgery. The sham group's contralateral joints served as nonoperated controls. After 12 months of follow-up, investigators evaluated implant wear, deformation, and the histopathological condition of the synovium and cartilage. Results: Wear of the implant's articulating surfaces was minimal, which was confirmed by the absence of wear particles in the synovial fluid. Implant deformation was limited. However, one implant failed by complete tearing of the posterior horn extension. No differences in cartilage histopathological condition were observed for the implant, allograft, and meniscectomy groups. However, locally, the cartilage scores for these groups were significantly worse than those of the nonoperated controls. Conclusion: Whereas this study demonstrated that the novel implant is resistant to wear and that deformation after 12 months of physiological loading is acceptable, reinforcement of the implant horns is necessary to prevent horn failure. Although the implant could not protect the cartilage from developing degenerative changes, the progression of damage was similar in the allograft group. Clinical Relevance: This novel polycarbonate urethane implant may have the potential to become an alternative treatment for symptomatic patients with total meniscectomy.
- articular cartilage
- polycarbonate urethane