Surgical Treatment of Isolated Meniscal Tears in Competitive Male Wrestlers: Reoperations, Outcomes, and Return to Sport

Erick M. Marigi, Lucas K. Keyt, Matthew D. LaPrade, Christopher L. Camp, Bruce A. Levy, Diane L. Dahm, Michael J. Stuart, Aaron J. Krych

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Wrestlers are highly active, young athletes prone to meniscal injuries that often require surgery. However, there is a lack of data evaluating the results of meniscal repair or partial meniscectomy in this cohort. Purpose: To describe the outcomes (subjective function, return to play, complications, reoperation rates, and progression of osteoarthritis) for treatment (meniscectomy or repair) of meniscal injuries in a cohort of competitive wrestlers. Study Design: Case series; Level of evidence, 4. Methods: All competitive wrestlers (high school, collegiate, or professional leagues) with a history of a meniscal injury and isolated meniscal surgery at a single institution between 2001 and 2017 were retrospectively identified. Failure was defined as a reinjury of the operative meniscus by clinical or advanced imaging examination, reoperation, or any additional surgical treatment of the meniscus after the index procedure. All patients were contacted for determination of reinjury rates, current sport status, and International Knee Documentation Committee and Tegner activity scores. Results: Of 85 male wrestlers with isolated meniscal tears, 34% underwent a meniscal repair, and 66% received a partial meniscectomy. Index surgery failed for 9.4% of the cohort. Among wrestlers treated with initial meniscal repair, 21% required a subsequent partial meniscectomy at a mean 2.2 years, and of those treated with partial meniscectomy, 3% underwent a second operation (P <.001). All secondary operations were revision partial meniscectomies occurring at a mean 3.2 years (95% CI, 0.01-6.4 years) after the index procedure. At final follow-up, 89% of patients were able to return to sport, with 65% returning to wrestling competition. There was significant improvement in the Tegner score from a mean 6.5 (95% CI, 5.9-7.2) preoperatively to 8.3 (95% CI 8.0-8.6) postoperatively (P <.001). Conclusion: The reoperation rate after meniscal surgery in wrestlers was quite low, but only 65% returned to competitive wrestling. Meniscal repair and partial meniscectomy improved patient-reported outcomes and activity levels at short-term follow-up. However, 21% of wrestlers treated with initial meniscal repair required a subsequent partial meniscectomy at a mean 2.2 years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOrthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


  • meniscal repair
  • meniscal tear
  • return to sport
  • wrestling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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