Preoperative Tibial Subchondral Bone Marrow Lesion Patterns and Associations With Outcomes After Isolated Meniscus Allograft Transplantation.

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The American journal of sports medicine


BACKGROUND: The association between preoperative tibial subchondral bone marrow lesion (BML) patterns and outcomes after isolated meniscus allograft transplantation (MAT) are unknown.

PURPOSE: To determine (1) if a superior classification means exists (ie, high interrater reliability [IRR]) for grading tibial subchondral BML before isolated MAT and (2) whether quality and/or severity of preoperative tibial subchondral BML patterns was associated with clinical outcomes and/or failure rates after isolated MAT.

STUDY DESIGN: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3.

METHODS: All patients who underwent isolated MAT with a single surgeon between October 2006 and February 2017 were identified. Three means were evaluated to quantify the degree of subchondral BML in the affected tibial-sided compartment: Welsch et al, based on maximum diameter of the lesion; Costa-Paz et al, based on appearance and location of the lesion; and Filardo et al, based on severity of findings. IRR was generated and compared among the 3 classifications. The preoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) subchondral BML grading scheme with the highest IRR was then used to assess for associations with postoperative outcomes for those patients with >2-year follow-up, per a Spearman correlation matrix with each reviewer's grades.

RESULTS: In total, 60 MRI scans were available for subchondral BML grading. Grader 1 identified the presence of subchondral BML in the tibia of the affected compartment in 40 (66.7%) of the available MRI scans, as compared with 38 (63.3%) for grader 2. The calculated IRRs with the Welsch et al and Costa-Paz et al classifications were rated "strong/almost perfect" agreement. A significant correlation was demonstrated between grader 1 with the Welsch et al grading scheme and outcome measures of KOOS pain (Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score; negative correlation, P = .05), WOMAC pain (Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index; positive correlation, P = .026), and Marx Activity Rating Scale (negative correlation, P = .019). A significant correlation was demonstrated between grader 2 with the Costa-Paz et al grading scheme and postoperative satisfaction (positive correlation, P = .018). There were no significant differences in survivorship based on gradings.

CONCLUSION: Nearly two-thirds of patients who undergo isolated MAT have subchondral BML on preoperative MRI. Our findings suggest that increasing BML size (Welsch et al) is correlated with worse postoperative pain measures (KOOS pain, WOMAC pain) and worse activity ratings (Marx Activity Rating Scale). Additionally, increasing disruption or depression of the normal contour of the cortical surface, with or without lesion contiguity with the subjacent articular surface (Costa-Paz et al), is correlated with greater postoperative satisfaction.

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