What is a meniscus? The knee has a specialized soft tissue structure called a meniscus. It is made mostly of collagen. It sits between the bottom of the femur (thigh bone) and the top of the tibia (shin bone) and acts as a cushion or pad. A torn meniscus is a tear of this specialized structure. Unfortunately, when a meniscus tears, it does not heal due to its poor blood supply. If you have a meniscus tear, depending on the severity of your tear, you may be a candidate for meniscus repair surgery. Meniscus repairs are typically an outpatient surgical procedure that aims to restore the full function of the knee through a variety of minimally invasive techniques. If conservative treatments have been exhausted to heal a meniscus tear, surgery may be the next best treatment to help you return to your active lifestyle.
The meniscus can be injured in various ways; however, the most common occur from rapid turning or twisting or applying high amounts of vertical load (weight) without proper activation of supporting muscles, such as squatting heavy weight without properly warming up or activating the appropriate muscles. Meniscus injuries may result from sudden trauma to the knee or can occur as a result of chronic wear and tear of the joint.
The meniscus tear will not heal on its own; however, the pain and inflammation can and often will decrease on its own with proper rest and cautious exercise. If you’re still experiencing pain after taking proper precautions, it’s recommended to speak with your orthopedic physician. A torn meniscus needs immediate care when the knee “locks” or isn’t able to complexly bend or straighten. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation and learn if meniscus repair surgery is right for you:
Call (719) 632-7669
Meniscectomy vs. Meniscus Repair
Meniscectomy is another surgical treatment for injured meniscus. Rather than ‘repair,” the surgeon fully or partially ‘removes‘ or ‘trims‘ the meniscus. This is typically performed when the torn portion of the meniscus is small, or the tear pattern will not benefit from “repair” stitches. Remember that the majority of the meniscus does not have a blood supply, so its ability to heal is severely diminished.
A meniscectomy may be your best treatment option if:
- The meniscus has significantly deteriorated tissue
- Parts of the meniscus are almost completely torn already
Types of Meniscus Repair
There are four basic types of meniscus repair:
- Open technique
- Inside-out technique
- Outside-in technique
- All-inside technique
The technique used will depend upon the severity and location of the meniscus tear.
What Types of Meniscus Repair Require Surgery?
You will likely need surgery to repair your meniscus if:
- You have multiple tears
- Your knee is ‘locked up’
- You have advanced tissue deterioration
- You have also damaged the MCL
What Is The Meniscus Tear Recovery Time Without Surgery?
You may recover from a meniscus tear without surgery within 4 to 8 weeks. Recovery times will vary upon your health, resting appropriately, and the severity of your injury.
Surgery is just one treatment option to repair a torn meniscus. Other treatment options include:
- Exercise and physical therapy
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Joint aspiration and injection
- Knee braces
The benefits and advantages of meniscus repair surgery include:
- Faster recovery
- Pain reduction
- Restored function and mobility of the knee
- Mitigates further degeneration of the knee
The risks and disadvantages of meniscus repair surgery include:
- Further medical complications and pain
- Re-tear of the meniscus
Cost of Meniscus Repair Surgery
Please contact your insurance provider to discuss coverage details.
To make an appointment at our North Campus location call. (719) 867-7320
To make an appointment at our South Campus location call. (719) 622-4524
Our Orthopaedic Doctors
At Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group, you have access to top knee repair surgeons. Our doctors are board-certified and committed to delivering the highest quality of care.
Is a Meniscus Repair Surgery Right for You?
Surgery is a significant medical treatment option, and it is not for everyone. Call our office to schedule a consultation and learn if meniscus repair surgery is right for you.