What is a Meniscus Tear?

A meniscus tear is a common injury to the meniscus or cartilage that cushions the knee joint. The type and extent of the tear determines if and how the tear can be repaired.

There are two zones to the meniscus: The red zone and the white zone. The red zone has a strong blood supply and generally heals well while the inner white zone lacks a strong blood supply and does not heal and may need to be removed. If a tear extends from the red zone into the white zone there may be enough blood supply to heal the white zone as well.

Types of Surgery

Open surgery- a small incision is made and the knee is opened up so the surgeon can see the meniscus and repair the tear.

Arthroscopic surgery- The surgeon makes a small incision near the knee and inserts a small tube (arthroscope) containing a light and camera. The surgeons tools are then entered through other small incisions and the tear is repaired using dissolvable stitches or anchors without the need for a large incision opening the knee.

After Surgery

It is commonly recommended to not move the knee for two weeks after surgery. Physical therapy is begun right after surgery and many are able to resume normal day to day activities within a month. However heavy work such as running, lifting, squatting, or playing sports may take multiple months of physical therapy before it is safe to resume.

How Well Will it Work?

The success of a meniscus repair depends greatly upon where the tear is located within the meniscus. Tears in  the red zone see a 90 to 95 percent success rate. Success may also vary by the health of the individual and response to rehabilitation and physical therapy.

What should I keep in mind?

Repairing a meniscus tear now can prevent further problems such as a larger tear or osteoarthritis later on in life but a tear in the red zone can be repaired at a later time in the same way. There are inherent risks, though uncommon, with surgery such as infection, damage to nerves or blood vessels, blood clots, and anesthesia risks.

Ways to Alleviate Pain From Metastatic Cancer

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) may be taken to reduce inflammation and pain in the time while still contemplating surgery. Post-surgery a patient should follow their surgeons rehabilitation plan for ways to alleviate pain.

Places to Get Help

Get excellent bone and joint treatment from the top doctors at OrthoArizona – Arizona Orthopaedic Associates.