The meniscus are two C-shaped pieces of cartilage located between thighbone and shin bone that act as shock absorbers and cushion the joints. The meniscus distributes the body weight uniformly across the joint and avoids the pressure on any one part of the joint and development of arthritis. Menisci are prone to wear and tear and meniscal tear is one of the most common knee injuries. Meniscal tear may occur in people of all ages and is more common in individuals who play contact sports.
Meniscal tear may be of different types such as longitudinal, parrot-beak, flap, bucket handle, and mixed/complex tear. Sudden twist, squat, or tackle may be the cause for meniscal tear in adults and ageing may cause the tear in elderly individuals, as commonly seen in association with osteoarthritis. Meniscal tear may cause severe pain, stiffness and swelling, catching or locking of the knee, and may limit the movement. Meniscal tear is often diagnosed with a description of the symptoms and imaging techniques such as X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging scans.
Symptomatic and immediate treatment for meniscal tear is the R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) and use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Surgery is recommended in cases where symptoms persist and is usually performed arthroscopically. Your surgeon may also order a rehabilitation program following the surgery for better and quicker recovery.
Meniscectomy Surgery is performed in a hospital operating room under general, regional, or local anesthesia.
The arthroscope is a small fiber-optic viewing instrument made up of a tiny lens, light source and video camera. The surgical instruments used in arthroscopic surgery are very small (only 3 or 4 mm in diameter), but appear much larger when viewed through an arthroscope.
The television camera attached to the arthroscope displays the image of the joint on a television screen, allowing the surgeon to look throughout the knee at cartilage and ligaments, and under the kneecap.
Then the surgeon makes two small incisions (about 1/4 of an inch) around the knee joint area. Each incision is called a portal. In one portal, the arthroscope is inserted to view the knee joint. Along with the arthroscope, a sterile solution is pumped into the joint which expands the viewing area, giving the surgeon a clear view and room to work. The other portal is used for the insertion of tiny surgical instruments to perform the repair or resection.
With the images from the arthroscope as a guide, your surgeon can look at the menisci and confirm the type, location, and extent of the tear. Once your surgeon has located the meniscal tear, surgical instruments are inserted into the portals to repair the tear or remove the torn meniscal flaps.
Recovery is usually 4-6 weeks back to full activities after partial meniscectomy and 3-6 months back to full activities after meniscus repair.