The sensitivity of tibiofemoral contact pressure to the size and shape of the lateral and medial menisci


In an effort to prevent degeneration of articular cartilage associated with meniscectomies, both meniscal allografts and synthetic replacements have been studied. A number of biomechanical criteria may be important for a meniscal replacement to restore normal tibiofemoral contact pressure in the knee joint and hence be clinically successful. One of these criteria is geometric similarity. The objectives of the current study were to: determine the sensitivity of the contact variables of the tibial plateau to the transverse depth and width of both the lateral and medial menisci; determine the sensitivity of the contact variables of the tibial plateau to the cross-sectional width and height of the lateral and medial menisci; and determine the tolerances on each of the four parameters for both menisci. To satisfy these objectives, a previously developed finite element model of the tibiofemoral joint was used to compute the contact pressure distribution on the tibial plateau. The effect of the above-mentioned geometric parameters on the contact behavior was studied by perturbing the finite element model. Results showed that the contact variables are similarly sensitive to both the transverse and cross-sectional parameters of the menisci. Additionally the medial meniscal parameters have a greater effect on the contact variables than do the lateral meniscal parameters. Finally, less than a 0.5 mm change in the medial meniscal height and greater than a 1 mm change in the lateral meniscal height could be tolerated before the relative difference in the contact variables from those for the original geometry exceeded 10%. Thus in the design or selection of meniscal replacements, each of the four parameters should be measured when sizing a replacement tissue. Also tighter tolerances should be placed on the medial meniscal parameters compared to the lateral meniscal parameters. © 2004 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Journal of Orthopaedic Research