Meniscus Tear Repair
Three bones meet to form the knee joint: thighbone (femur), shinbone (tibia) and kneecap (patella).Two wedge-shaped pieces of cartilage, menisci, act as “shock absorbers” between the thighbone and shinbone. They are tough and rubbery to help cushion the joint and keep it stable.
Meniscus tears are common knee injuries among athletes who participate in contact sports. Older people are more likely to have degenerative meniscus tears as the cartilage weakens and thins over time. Worn tissue is prone to tears.
The symptoms of meniscus tear are:
- A sudden pop in the knee
- Stiffness and swelling
- Catching or locking of the knee
- Sensation of knee collapsing
- Decreased range of motion
After discussing symptoms and medical history, the DOC orthopedic surgeon or PA examines the knee and checks for tenderness. The McMurray test, bending, straightening and rotating the knee, puts tension on a torn meniscus and causes a clicking sound. Imaging tests, X-rays and an MRI to show tissues like a meniscus, may confirm a meniscus tear diagnosis or indicate other knee conditions.
Menisci tear in different ways and are classified by appearance and location. The type of tear, age, activity level, and related injuries factor into the treatment plan. The outside one-third of the meniscus has a rich blood supply and may heal using the RICE protocol: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
The inner two-thirds of the meniscus lacks a blood supply. Tears in this location are often in thin, worn cartilage and usually require surgery. During knee arthroscopy, the DOC surgeon inserts a miniature camera through a small incision (portal) and miniature surgical instruments through other portals to trim and/or repair the tear.
The surgeon will prescribe DOC physical therapy to restore range of motion and strength. Rehabilitation time for a meniscus repair is about 3 months. With proper diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation, guests return to their pre-injury abilities.
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