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MENISCECTOMY & MENISCUS REPAIR

For most people with a torn meniscus surgery is the next step. Surgery is recommended in particular for young people with tears in the outside meniscus to reduce the risk of developing arthritis that could lead to the need for total knee replacement.

During surgery the torn meniscus can be removed (meniscectomy) or repaired. The surgery is done under general or regional anesthesia using an arthroscope through several tiny stab incisions.

The recovery from meniscus surgery depends on what was done. After meniscectomy, you can walk out of the surgery center and get back to full activities in a week. If a repair was done time is needed for the repaired meniscus to heal. After an arthroscopic meniscal repair, you are non-weight bearing and wear a brace for 6 weeks, followed by 6-8 weeks of physical therapy. Twelve weeks after arthroscopic meniscal repair surgery you can run in a straight line; full-blown sports require a total of 4-6 months of strengthening to give time for complete healing.

FAQ

Meniscus injuries cause pain at the joint line and often have associated popping, clicking, catching and locking, and swelling of the knee. In sports injuries, meniscal tears are common after bending and rotating and commonly happen in football, tennis and basketball. However, most meniscal injuries don’t happen during sports; the most common cause of a meniscal injury is just getting out of a low car seat. Old folks are sometimes found to have a torn meniscus without even having a known injury, and the pain may be in the back of the knee due to the formation of a Baker’s cyst due to excessive fluid n the knee joint.

If you suspect you have a torn meniscus you should see an orthopedic surgeon and avoid walking around. Younger people can walk on a torn meniscus, but they should avoid it: putting pressure on a torn meniscus can cause additional damage to the knee. The emergency department, primary care, and chiropractic doctors will typically just pass you on to an Orthopedic surgeon. On examination, the orthopedic surgeon evaluates for tenderness to palpation at the joint line and will perform the McMurray test. During the McMurray test the orthopedic surgeon determines whether twisting the shin bone with the knee bent reproduces the pain. X-rays are helpful in alerting the doctor to the presence and stage of arthritis. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is needed if the examination is not clear.

The meniscus is largely unable to heal by itself. There are two menisci on the end of the shin bone. They are made from cartilage. If a small tear occurs on the edge of the meniscus where the blood supply is good then it could potentially heal on its own in six weeks. If you have a torn meniscus that is severely painful after six weeks, then surgery should be considered. In older folks with multiple medical problem when surgery is not a safe option, then a steroid shot may help relieve the pain temporarily.

In most people with a torn meniscus surgery is needed. Surgery is recommended in young people with tears in the outside meniscus to reduce the risk of developing arthritis that could lead to the need for total knee replacement.

During surgery, the torn meniscus can be removed (meniscectomy) or repaired. The surgery is done under general or regional anesthesia using an arthroscope through several tiny stab incisions. Arthroscopic meniscectomy surgery takes 30-60 min; if repair is needed that adds an additional 30 more minutes. The surgery is done in an ambulatory surgery center (ASC), and does not require hospitalization.

The recovery from meniscus surgery depends on what was done. After meniscectomy, you can walk out of the ASC and get back to full activities in a week. If a repair was done time is needed for the repaired meniscus to heal. After the arthroscopic meniscal repair, you are non-weight bearing and wear a brace for 6 weeks, followed by 6-8 weeks of physical therapy. Twelve weeks after arthroscopic meniscal repair surgery you can run in a straight line; full-blown sports require a total of 4-6 months of strengthening to give time for complete healing.

Our surgeons who perform arthroscopic meniscectomy and meniscal repair by center are:

Doctors Goodyear Gilbert Scottsdale
Dan Mullen, MD