What is Meniscus Repair Surgery?
If the meniscus has a small symptomatic tear, one that is shredded beyond repair, or a tear in the inner third of the meniscus, it is treated by removing the area of the tear. This is called a partial meniscectomy, and Dr. Boykin will take great care to only remove the involved part of the tear and leave as much of the healthy meniscus as possible. This surgery is performed arthroscopically using a camera to visualize the tear and check the knee for any other damage. Small incisions are made to insert specialized instruments to carefully remove the damaged tissue. The remaining meniscus is smoothed down to prevent further tearing. This procedure is highly successful in alleviating symptoms associated with a meniscal tear.
In larger tears that are able to be fixed and those tears in the outer two thirds of the meniscus an attempt is made to repair damaged tissue and get the native meniscus tissue to heal. This is performed with a combination arthroscopic and open procedure, using a camera and small instruments in the knee, while making a small open incision on either the inside or outside of the knee to complete the fixation. Strong stitches are placed through the tear to bring the tissue back together and complete the repair. The stitches are then tied to secure the meniscus.
Recovery Following Meniscus Surgery
For a partial meniscectomy procedure, the patient is allowed to weight-bear as tolerated after the surgery. Physical therapy is started immediately for control of swelling and to regain motion and strength. A brace is not usually required and patients need crutches for 1-2 weeks. After a meniscal repair, the knee must be protected to allow the meniscus to heal. The patient is placed in a brace and motion is started immediately but usually in a restricted range for the first two weeks. Weight bearing is protected on crutches for two weeks followed by full weight bearing in the brace, which is worn for a total of six weeks. The typical return to jogging is around 4 months, with sports at 5-6 months.
To learn more about mensical injuries of the knee, or for additional information on meniscus repairs or meniscus surgery, please contact Dr. Robert Boykin, orthopedic knee surgeon treating patients in Asheville, Arden, Fletcher and surrounding North Carolina communities.