Meniscal repair is optimal in the young, active patient. It repairs injured meniscus tissue with good blood flow to allow preservation of a patient's tissue. By doing this, a knee's normal biomechanics can be restored, thereby preserving a patient's joint and minimizing one's risk of progressive arthritis.
Patients who undergo meniscal repair are often asked to abide by a restricted range of motion and weight-bearing postoperatively to ensure proper healing of the meniscus.
Meniscal tears are typically associated with pain in the knee. They can also lead to catching, popping, and locking symptoms, usually described as "mechanical symptoms."
Leaving a torn meniscus untreated can lead to persistent pain, joint dysfunction, and cartilage damage. A symptomatic, torn meniscus has also been shown to put a patient's knee at risk of progressive arthritis.
You can prevent meniscus tears by keeping the muscles above and below the knee strong so the knee functions better and there is less stress on the meniscus. Even by doing this, these injuries sometimes cannot be avoided if they result from a traumatic sports injury.
Meniscal repairs are associated with a prolonged recovery due to the limited blood flow the tissue has. Because of this, the time to full recovery from a meniscal repair surgery is approximately 4-6 months.
At the time of surgery, we will assess the meniscus arthroscopically to determine if it is repairable. Some tears are not repairable because the blood flow to the region is too poor. Once it is found to be curable, sutures are placed across the tear site with a special instrument, repairing the meniscus back to the knee capsule. We can do this with an open incision or arthroscopically. The size of the tear often determines whether or not we will repair arthroscopically or through an open incision.