Meniscus tear is a common knee injury in athletes, especially those involved in contact sports or sports with twisting or pivoting motions of the lower exremities. A suddenly bend or twist in your knee cause the meniscus to tear. This is a traumatic meniscus tear. The aging individual or a person with increased arthritis or wear and tear of the knee can be more prone to degenerative meniscal tears as the cartilage wears out and weakens with age. The two wedge-shape cartilage pieces present between the thighbone and the shinbone are called the medial and lateral meniscus. They help 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, 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 peripheral free edge of the meniscus, nonsurgical treatment may be sufficient. However, if the symptoms do not resolve with nonsurgical treatment, surgical treatment may be recommended.
Knee arthroscopy is the commonly recommended surgical procedure for meniscal tears. The surgical treatment options include partial meniscus removal (meniscectomy), or meniscus repair. Surgery can be performed using arthroscopy where a small camera will be inserted through a small incision which enables the surgeon to view inside of your knee on a large screen and through other incisions, surgery will be performed. During meniscectomy, small instruments called shavers or biters may be used to remove the torn portion of the meniscus. In arthroscopic meniscus repair the torn meniscus will be sutured using different configurations and devices depending on the extent and pattern of the tear.