What’s Involved with a Knee Meniscectomy for a Torn Meniscus?

A meniscus tear—an injury to the cartilage lining the knee joint—is a common knee injury that affects more than 200,000 Americans each year. The meniscus is a thick pad of cartilage that acts as a “shock absorber” for the knee. It helps to stabilize and cushion the knee, and is often injured during sports-related activities. If you experience a meniscus tear, a surgery called a meniscectomy may be recommended to repair it.

Orthopedic knee surgeon, Dr. Sergai DeLaMora, frequently performs knee meniscectomy procedures for torn meniscus injuries. Here’s an overview of what’s involved with this surgery and when it’s recommended.

 

How does a meniscus tear occur?

A meniscus can tear in a variety of ways and with varying degrees of severity. In most cases, this type of injury results when you twist your knee or turn quickly with your foot planted and your knee bent. In other words, it’s an injury that occurs from forceful twisting in the knee.

 

What is a knee meniscectomy?

Damaged cartilage in the knee can cause pain or create problems moving the joint. If you suffer from a torn meniscus, your orthopedic physician may recommend a meniscectomy procedure. A meniscectomy is used to remove all or part of the damaged knee cartilage, in order to relieve pain and improve the function and range of motion of the injured knee.

 

When is a knee meniscectomy recommended?

The appropriate treatment options for a torn meniscus depend on the location and type of tear that has occurred and how big the tear is. In some cases, nonsurgical treatments may be all that is necessary. However, if you have a moderate to large tear in the outer edge of your meniscus, surgery may be the best option. In cases of horizontal and flap tears, at least part of the meniscus usually needs to be surgically removed.

Common indications that surgical treatment should be considered for a torn meniscus include:

  • Chronic swelling of the knee
  • A knee that “locks”
  • Trouble straightening the knee
  • Inability to participate in normal activities due to problems with the affected knee

 

What does a knee meniscectomy for a torn meniscus involve?

There are two main types of meniscectomy procedures. The surgical method that is most appropriate will also depend on the size and location of the tear.

Knee Arthroscopy
Arthroscopic knee surgery for a torn meniscus is a minimally invasive surgical technique that’s performed by inserting a small camera and specialized surgical tools into the knee joint via small incisions. The camera streams real-time video to a monitor in the operating room and Dr. DeLaMora uses this detailed video guidance to visualize the injured meniscus and make surgical repairs.

Knee Arthrotomy
Knee arthrotomy is a more traditional open knee surgery that involves making an incision over the knee joint, which provides the surgeon with direct access to the joint. The torn meniscus is then repaired or removed, and the incision is closed with stitches. This type of surgery usually requires a longer recovery period than knee arthroscopy.

 

How long will the recovery take after a meniscectomy?

The length of time required for recovery and rehabilitation following a meniscectomy varies depending on your specific injury and the type of surgery used to correct it. It also depends on several other factors such as your age, activity level, and overall state of health.

Arthroscopic knee surgery usually allows you to return to normal activities of daily living within several days of surgery, though a return to sports is usually discouraged until you’ve regained full range of motion and strength in the joint. This usually takes about four to six weeks.

 

Looking for a knee meniscectomy surgeon for a torn meniscus in NY?

If you’ve sustained a torn meniscus and are faced with the possibility of having a meniscectomy, seeing a trained knee specialist is essential. Fellowship-trained orthopedic physician Dr. Sergai DeLaMora specializes in performing knee surgeries for meniscus tears as well as other sport-related injuries. Schedule a consultation with Dr. DeLaMora today to learn more about your treatment options.

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Dr. Jose Rodriguez is no longer practicing at New York Orthopedics as of March 31, 2017. For a full list of our doctors, please visit this page.