Meniscus repair overview
The meniscus is a band of cartilage in the knee that acts as a shock absorber and provides stability to the knee joint. The meniscus helps protect the articular cartilage, the smooth covering on the ends of the femur and tibia. If meniscus tears, it can often be repaired through arthroscopic knee surgery.
Small incisions are made in the front and back of the knee. A tiny video camera called an arthroscope is inserted into the joint. Surgical instruments may be inserted through the other incisions. After finding and inspecting the area of damage, the surgeon decides how to treat the damage.
The damaged area is cleared of loose fragments. If the tear is located in an area of the meniscus that does not receive a good blood supply, that portion of the meniscus may be removed completely.
Meniscus tears repaired
Tears that are in an area of the meniscus with a good blood supply are usually repairable because the blood supply promotes healing. The surgeon uses sutures or special fasteners known as anchors to sew or anchor the torn edges of a meniscus together. The meniscus will then heal itself.
End of procedure and after care
Following meniscus repair, the incisions are closed with sutures or small bandages and the knee is wrapped and iced to control swelling. The knee may be immobilized for several weeks before rehabilitation begins. If part of the meniscus was removed, weight-bearing and rehabilitation may begin soon after this minimally-invasive knee surgery.
Causes for torn meniscus
Meniscus tears are caused by an injury or trauma to the knee, or from degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis. Since most of the meniscus has no blood supply, these tears are difficult to heal and may worsen over time.
Meniscus tear symptoms
The most common symptom of a meniscus tear is the pain in the knee. Other symptoms may include swelling, tenderness when pressing on the sides of the knee joint, a popping or clicking sound or sensation when moving the knee, or limited mobility.
Meniscus tear treatment
Treatment options for meniscus tears include rest, cold compress, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications and immobilization of the knee in a brace or cast. Severe cases may require torn meniscus surgery.