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Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine


Background: The occurrence of rapid chondrolysis after partial lateral meniscectomy is rare. The pathophysiology, risk factors, and outcomes of treatment have not been established.

Purpose: The primary aim of this study was to perform a scoping review of the literature to determine the potential risk factors and pathogenesis of rapid chondrolysis. The secondary objective was to report outcomes of treatment.

Study design: Systematic (scoping) review.

Methods: A scoping review of the literature was conducted in accordance with the framework of Arksey and O'Malley. A search strategy based on the terms "chondrolysis" AND "knee," "chondrolysis" AND "meniscus," and "chondral damage" AND "lateral meniscus" was applied to the PubMed database on March 31, 2020. All relevant studies were included. Patient demographics and clinical data were extracted from these studies and analyzed in order to investigate the potential risk factors, pathogenesis, and outcomes of treatment for rapid chondrolysis.

Results: Five articles (22 cases) featuring rapid chondrolysis in the lateral compartment after partial lateral meniscectomy were identified and included. The condition occurred most frequently in patients who were young (mean age, 25.6 years), male (20/22 cases; 91%), and participating in high-intensity sports (19/22 cases; 86.4%) within 1 year of the index procedure. Half of the included study population underwent surgery for a radial tear. All professional athletes (13/13) returned to the preinjury level of sport. All authors of included studies suggested that the main causal risk factor was mechanical focal cartilage overload in the lateral compartment of the knee.

Conclusion: Rapid chondrolysis after partial lateral meniscectomy is a rare condition that typically occurs within 12 months of the index procedure. Younger age, male sex, high-intensity sports participation, and some meniscal tear patterns (eg, radial tear) are potentially important risk factors. Return-to-sport rates at short-term follow up are high, but no long-term studies were identified. The pathogenesis of rapid chondrolysis seems to relate to mechanical focal cartilage overload.



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arthroscopy, knee, lateral meniscus, meniscectomy, rapid chondrolysis