Meniscal scaffolds are implants which can be used to replace defects in the meniscus after a tear has been excised. An example would be the ‘Actifit’ meniscus, which is a man-made, biodegradable polymer.
Meniscal scaffolds are useful when there is a large tear of the meniscus but meniscal repair is not possible. After the damaged part of the meniscus is removed, the meniscus is prepared for the scaffold by trimming the meniscus back further, to get to the part of the meniscus which has a good blood supply. The scaffold is then cut to fit the gap and held in place with stitches. The scaffold has a honey-comb structure and over time, cells grow into it. Over several years the scaffold biodegrades into harmless molecules, leaving the newly formed tissue behind. The new tissue is not quite the same as healthy meniscus but is thought to help the knee function more normally and reduce the chances of developing premature arthritis in the knee joint.