A Meniscus repair can be a non-surgical or surgical treatment targeted towards repairing the Meniscus cartilage of the knee.
The Meniscus cartilage is C-shaped cartilage located between the shinbone and the thighbone in the kneecap. It helps to resolve the friction between the two bones as they move against each other.
The pair of Meniscus cartilage or the ‘menisci’ act as shock-absorbers for the knee joint. They also provide strength and stability to the knee.
A tear in the meniscus disrupts the functions of the knee. Firstly, the torn meniscus itself is a painful condition. Secondly, the shinbone and the thighbone grind against each other upon movement.
Finally, the grinding of the bones and the instability of the knee, caused by a torn Meniscus, will lead to further damage in the knee. It can weaken the knee bones and cause inflammation of the tendons and ligaments.
A non-surgical Meniscus repair or a Meniscus surgery is essential to repair a torn Meniscus as soon as it has been diagnosed.
Who Needs Meniscus Repair?
Individuals who have been diagnosed with a grade 1 or 2 Meniscus injury require a non-surgical Meniscus repair. On the other hand, individuals who have been diagnosed with a grade 3 Meniscus tear require Meniscus surgery.
Individuals who require Meniscus repair may experience the following symptoms:
- Pain and swelling in the knee.
- Stiffness or tightness in the knee.
- An inability to extend your leg or bend your knee easily.
- A decreased range of motion of the knee joint.
A Menisci tear can split the cartilage into two or tear away a part of the meniscus. The piece can get stuck in the joint, which may cause a ‘locking’ or ‘popping’ sensation.
How is Meniscus Repair Performed?
A meniscus repair is performed after the tear has been diagnosed as a grade 1, 2, or 3 Meniscus tears. Along with the grade, it is also important to diagnose the cause of the tear.
A Meniscus tear is one of the most common injuries of the knee joint. There are three leading causes of a Meniscus tear:
- Overuse Injury
The Menisci of the knee can be worn down by daily wear and tear. Just like a piece of furniture wears off with age, so does the body.
The Menisci may be worn down by age or by repetitive use. Damage to the cartilage from age usually causes a meniscus injury in individuals who are more than 50 years of age. On the other hand, individuals who are less than 50 years of age may wear down their knee cartilage by repetitive movements of sporting activities and physical fitness exercises. Some individuals may also suffer overuse injury because of their work requirements.
- Traumatic Injury
Meniscus injury caused by a sudden and acute trauma to the knee. Auto accidents, falling, and blunt force trauma are some common examples.
- Pathological Injury
The meniscus can also be damaged if an individual is suffering from chronic medical conditions such as joint disorders, including osteoarthritis.
Once the grade and cause of the tear have been diagnosed, the surgeon will recommend a suitable treatment plan.
How to Repair A Meniscus Tear Without Surgery?
If the Meniscus tear is caused by overuse injury, it will generally be a grade 1 or grade 2 tear. Generally, these tears can be treated through non-surgical treatment options. A Meniscus repair without surgery includes the following:
- Partial immobilization of the knee.
- RICE (Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate) Protocol.
- Steroid free anti-inflammatory drugs and pain medication.
- Physical therapy.
- Steroid injections.
- Percutaneous injections of PRP (Plasma rich platelets).
How to Repair a Meniscus Tear with Surgery?
If a traumatic injury or acute pathological injury is the cause of the Meniscus tear, then it is most likely that the tear is a grade 3 tear. For grade 3 tear, there can be two prognoses:
- Surgical repair for individuals who are less than 50 years of age and have an active lifestyle
- Non-surgical repair for individuals who are more than 50 years of age suffer from a chronic medical condition, and surgery will not improve their condition.
Meniscus Repair Surgery
A Meniscus tear surgery is an elective procedure; a patient may choose to have the torn meniscus surgery after being informed of all treatment options and the risks of the surgery by the surgeon.
Knee Meniscus surgery is performed arthroscopically through numerous techniques. These are:
- Arthroscopic Repair
In an arthroscopic Meniscus surgery, the surgeon will make two small incisions on the front of the knee. The surgeon will insert an arthroscope through one incision and instruments through the other. Guided by the arthroscope, the surgeon will stitch the torn meniscus.
- Arthroscopic Partial Meniscectomy
If a part of the meniscus has torn away, the surgeon will remove that part arthroscopically to reduce inflammation and return normal function to the knee.
- Arthroscopic Total Meniscectomy
In a complete or total Meniscectomy, the entire meniscus is removed arthroscopically.
Our team of surgeons performs surgeries with diligent care in light of their expertise.
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What to Expect After Meniscus Repair Surgery?
- All arthroscopic techniques of knee Meniscus repair are minimally invasive and low-risk surgeries. Patients whose meniscus have been sutured are more likely to recover completely. However, patients who have had partial or total Meniscectomy may only recover partial movements.
- Once the meniscus has been completely removed, the patient will no longer be as active as they were with a healthy Meniscus. However, Physical therapy and rehabilitation can help them recover most of the functions, and they will be able to perform everyday functions without pain.
How Long Does It Take to Recover From Torn Meniscus Surgery?
- After the surgery, the patient will be kept under observation for two-three hours. If no complication has surfaced, then the patient will be discharged. The doctors will recommend the patient to follow the RICE protocol for at least 2-3 three weeks after surgery to aid healing.
- In the case of Meniscectomy, the surgeon will also recommend a rehabilitation program that will include ice-ultrasound therapy, exercise for joint mobilization, steps-ups, friction massage, and extensor exercise, among others.
- If you follow your surgeons’ instructions and rehabilitation program, full recovery is expected in four to five weeks.
Can I Climb Stairs After Meniscus Surgery?
- Standing, walking, and climbing stairs are not good for your knee for the first week and a half after your surgery. Do not walk or stand any more than it is necessary.
How Can I Speed up My Meniscus Recovery?
- Follow your surgeons’ advice and avoid walking, standing, and climbing stairs along with bending your knee.
- Rest your knee and apply ice to reduce any pain or swelling.
- Keep your knee elevated under a pillow while you rest or lie down.
- Get through the rehabilitation program to strengthen and reduce stress on your knee.