A meniscus tear is a very common knee injury. Tears can lead to symptoms that include knee pain, swelling, and instability. Some meniscus tears will not require surgery. The decision to have surgery will depend upon the nature and severity of the tear, its location and ability to heal, as well as the patient’s age, health, and overall activity goals.
Some meniscus tears are repairable, especially in pediatric and adolescent patients, and patients who are also having surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Patients who have smaller tears, tears where the meniscus blood supply is poor, or severely shredded meniscal tears may not be amenable to repair, and are treated with partial meniscectomy. Healthy meniscus is spared, and only damaged tissue is carefully resected.
Your physician will typically performs an arthroscopic partial meniscectomy through a keyhole sized incision. An arthroscopic camera, smaller then a pen, will provide a video image of the inside of the knee on an HD television monitor. Other surgical tools are used to precisely trim down the meniscal tear and smooth the remaining rough edges, to minimize further pain or symptoms.
Following surgery, and physical therapy, more than 90% of patients return to walking in one week, and the majority return to full activity in less than 4 weeks.