The knee joint is made up of three bones:
the thigh bone (femur), the shin bone (tibia), and the kneecap (patella). In each knee, between the femur and the tibia, there are two c-shaped pieces of cartilage. Each cartilage, called a meniscus, is smooth and rubbery, adds stability to the joint and acts as the knee's shock absorber.
Meniscus tears are one of the most common knee injuries, affecting approximately 1 million people in the US each year.3 The meniscus can tear from acute injury to the knee or from degeneration over time.
After a thorough review of symptoms and medical history, your doctor will physically examine and manipulate your knee to check for the signs of a meniscus tear. Imaging tests such asÂ X-ray or MRI may be ordered to help your doctor diagnose and confirm the injury.
The surgeon will recommend the best treatment option for your situation based on the type of meniscus tear, its size, location, and consideration for your age and activity levels.
If surgery is indicated, your doctor may recommend a minimally invasive procedure called arthroscopy. Arthroscopy allows the surgeon to gain access inside your knee via small incisions to see and assess your meniscus and perform either a repair or a procedure called meniscectomy.2
Typically, a meniscus repair is done by stitching together your meniscus, preserving the tissue and its normal size, shape and function. A meniscectomy involves the permanent removal of the torn meniscus tissue in part or whole and does not preserve the normal size of the meniscus. Although meniscectomy is a common procedure, many doctors are now choosing to repair the meniscus when possible to preserve long-term knee health.
A number of clinical studies have compared the treatment options showing strong support for meniscus repair and reporting long-term consequences of meniscus tissue removal.
|Meniscus Repair||VS||Meniscus Removal|
|Tear is stitched together and natural meniscus shape maintained||Meniscus tissue is removed in part or whole|
|Preserves tissue and may return normal knee joint pressure4||Potential of accelerated advanced arthritis5 and higher risk for knee replacement in less than 9 years1,6|
|Along with rehabilitation, repair can facilitate the return to near normal activity levels||May lead to diminished long-term sports performance, mobility, and total knee health7|
The primary concern for most patients following knee surgery is the development of osteoarthritis and future surgery.8 Most patients prefer meniscus repair when undergoing surgery for a torn meniscus to help reduce these risks.8
Following meniscus repair surgery, patients typically wear a brace for 4-6 weeks, and may need the support of crutches. Heavy lifting may be restricted during this time. Regular rehabilitation exercises are commonly prescribed to restore knee mobility and strength. Generally, patients return to near normal active lifestyles after surgery and rehabilitation.
The information listed on this site is for informational and educational purposes and is not meant as medical advice. Every patient's case is unique and each patient should follow his or her doctor's specific instructions. Please discuss nutrition, medication and treatment options with your doctor to make sure you are getting the proper care for your particular situation.