The meniscus is a crescent-shaped cartilage in the knee that acts as a cushion and stabilizer, absorbing shock and distributing weight across the joint. A meniscus tear occurs when this cartilage is damaged, often due to sudden twisting or pressure on the knee. The severity of the tear can vary from a minor, partial tear to a complete rupture.
When conservative treatments like rest, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory medications fail to provide relief, meniscus tear surgery becomes a viable option. Two common surgical procedures are often recommended:
Arthroscopic Surgery: This minimally invasive procedure involves making small incisions in the knee to insert a tiny camera (arthroscope) and surgical instruments. The surgeon then trims or repairs the torn meniscus, depending on the extent of the injury. Arthroscopic surgery typically offers a quicker recovery and less scarring.
Meniscus Transplant: In cases where the meniscus is severely damaged or removed, a transplant may be considered. This procedure involves replacing the damaged meniscus with a donor or synthetic meniscus to restore joint function and reduce pain.
Recovery after meniscus tear surgery depends on various factors, including the surgical technique used and the individual patient's condition. Generally, patients can expect to follow these steps:
Immobilization: The knee may be immobilized in a brace or cast temporarily to promote healing.
Physical Therapy: Physical therapy is a crucial part of recovery, helping to regain strength, flexibility, and range of motion in the knee.
Gradual Return to Activity: Patients will gradually return to their normal activities, with specific guidelines from their healthcare provider to prevent re-injury.
Meniscus tear surgery is a common and effective treatment option for individuals suffering from knee pain and limited mobility due to this injury. While the surgical procedure may seem daunting, it offers the promise of a pain-free and active future. If you suspect a meniscus tear, consult with a healthcare professional who can assess your condition and recommend the most suitable treatment approach to get you back on your feet.
Dr. Weber and his team treat over 200 Los Angeles athletes and weekend warriors with meniscus tears each year. We provide personalized treatment for all knee injuries from professional athletes to high school recreational players to weekend skiers. If you are a patient with a knee injury in Los Angeles, please reach out. We can see you within 24 hours.