Meniscus Tear

The two wedge-shape fibrocartilage pieces present between the thighbone and the shinbone in the knee are called the menisci (singular: meniscus). They stabilize the knee joint and act as “shock absorbers”. Meniscus tear is the most common knee injury in athletes, especially those involved in contact sports. A sudden bend or twist in your knee can cause the meniscus to tear. This is a traumatic meniscus tear. Middle age people are more prone to degenerative meniscal tears as the cartilage wears out and weakens with age.

A torn meniscus causes pain, swelling, stiffness, a sometimes a catching or locking sensation in your knee that makes you unable to move your knee through its complete range of motion. Your orthopedic surgeon will examine your knee, evaluate your symptoms, and medical history before suggesting a treatment plan. The treatment depends on the type, size and location of tear as well your age and activity level. If the tear is small with damage in only the inner edge of the meniscus, nonsurgical treatment may be sufficient. However, if the symptoms do not resolve with nonsurgical treatment, surgical treatment may be recommended.

Surgical Treatment

Knee arthroscopy is commonly recommended for meniscal tears. The surgical treatment options include partial meniscus removal (partial meniscectomy), meniscus repair, and meniscus replacement/transplant. Surgery can be performed using arthroscopy where a tiny camera will be inserted through a tiny incision which enables the surgeon to view inside of your knee on a large screen and through other tiny incisions, surgery will be performed. During meniscectomy, small instruments called shavers or scissors may be used to remove the torn part of the meniscus. In arthroscopic meniscus repair the torn meniscus will be sutured in various patterns depending on the extent of tear.

Meniscus replacement or transplantation involves replacement of the torn cartilage with the cartilage obtained from a cadaver donor. It is considered as a treatment option to relieve knee pain in younger patients who have undergone subtotal or total meniscectomy and still have pain This surgery must be planned ahead of time to obtain a size-matched graft. Other ligament reconstruction, cartilage repair, or limb realignment may be necessary at the same time.