James B. Grimes, MD
mis med pro

Meniscus Tear

Meniscus Tear web based movie

Meniscus tear is the most common knee injury in athletes, especially those involved in contact sports. A suddenly bend or twist in your knee cause the meniscus to tear. This is a traumatic meniscus tear. Elderly people are more prone to degenerative meniscal tears as the cartilage wears out and weakens with age. Each of the two wedge-shape cartilage pieces present between the thighbone and the shinbone is called a meniscus. They stabilize the knee joint and act as “shock absorbers”.

A torn meniscus causes pain, swelling, stiffness, catching or locking sensation in your knee making you unable to move your knee through its complete range of motion. Your orthopaedic surgeon will examine your knee and evaluate your symptoms and medical history before suggesting a treatment plan. The treatment depends on the type, size and location of tear as well your age and activity level. If the tear is small with damage in only the outer edge of the meniscus, nonsurgical treatment may be sufficient. However, if the symptoms do not resolve with nonsurgical treatment, surgical treatment may be recommended.

Surgical Treatment

Knee arthroscopy is the commonly recommended surgical procedure for meniscal tears. The surgical treatment options include meniscus removal (meniscectomy) or meniscal repair. Surgery can be performed using arthroscopy. An arthroscope is a small, fiber-optic instrument consisting of a lens, light source, and video camera. The arthroscope is inserted into the knee through a small incision and enables the surgeon to view the inside of your knee on a video monitor. A variety of surgical procedures can then be performed through other tiny incisions. During meniscectomy, small instruments called shavers or basket forceps may be used to remove the torn meniscus. In arthroscopic meniscus repair, the torn meniscus is reattached using sutures and anchors designed specifically for this purpose.


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