Meniscus Surgery

The meniscus (Plural: menisci) is a strong wedge in the knee joint positioned between the thigh and shin bones that make up the joint. There are three menisci and they function to stabilize the joint when you move it and act as the knee’s shock absorbers.

Meniscus surgery is done to repair or remove the meniscus after it has been torn during injury. Meniscus tears are one of the most common types of knee injuries. Athletes are most commonly at risk of meniscus tears. Meniscus surgery includes meniscus repair, partial removal of the meniscus, and total removal of the meniscus. Which is done depends on the location and type of meniscus tear you sustain.

Why is a Meniscus Surgery Performed?

The mode of treatment your doctor will recommend for you depends on which part of your meniscus got torn, your age, and your activity level. Meniscus tears present with knee pain, swelling, stiffness, difficulty moving the knee, and a clicking sound in your knee when you move it.

The outer one-third area of a meniscus has abundant blood supply and may heal on its own if you sustain a tear there, however, if the tear is large, or unabated after using pain medications and nonsurgical options such as cold compresses, the meniscus will be repaired surgically.

If the tear occurs in the inner part of the meniscus, which lacks blood supply and therefore, would heal poorly, it is removed surgically. This procedure is called Meniscectomy. Meniscectomy may be total or partial.

Meniscus tears are common among athletes when they make sharp twist or squat. It could also occur as a result of direct impact to the knee. Meniscus tears also occur in the elderly as a result of the weakness of the meniscus which comes with age.

Unrepaired, a torn meniscus may slip into the knee joint causing the joint to pop or lock.

How is a Meniscus Surgery Performed?

After presenting your knee complaints, your doctor would examine your knee to check for tenderness around the area of your knee joint where the meniscus is.

A common test which would be conducted is the McMurray test, a physical examination to confirm the diagnosis of a meniscus tear. To perform this test, your doctor would bend the affected knee, then straighten and rotate it. If you’ve got a meniscus tear, you would hear a clicking sound.

Your doctor would also request for MRI scans of your knee to confirm the extent and location of the tear,

Your doctor may perform an open knee surgery, in which he makes an incision large enough to expose the knee joint and repair or remove the meniscus.

However, most surgeons take the minimally invasive approach using knee arthroscopy, in which a tiny incision is made through which a small camera is inserted to visualize the inside of your knee joint. Other small incisions are also made to allow instruments with which the surgeon would perform the repair or removal of the meniscus.

Partial meniscectomy involves removal of the damaged part of the meniscus, while total meniscectomy removes the whole meniscus that was injured.

After the repair is done, the incisions are stitched and your knee is put in a cast or brace to keep it immobilized for a few weeks, so proper healing can be achieved. On discharge, your doctor would schedule rehabilitation exercises for you and advise you against heavy knee movements.

What risks are Associated with Meniscus Surgery?

With Meniscus surgery, there is a small risk of bleeding, and poor healing and rupture of the meniscus.

Clinics offering Meniscus Surgery

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