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Meniscus Surgery

What is Meniscus Tear?

A meniscus tear is an injury that occurs in the meniscus. Meniscus is a C-shaped cartilage structure found in the knee joint. The menisci serve as shock absorbers and provide stability to the knee. These tears usually occur from forceful twisting or rotating of the knee, often during sports activities or heavy lifting. Degenerative changes can also weaken the meniscus over time and increase the risk of tears. Individuals, especially those who are active in sports, are particularly prone to meniscus tears. 

The common symptoms of a meniscus tear include knee pain, swelling, stiffness, locking or catching sensations, popping or clicking sounds, and limited range of motion. Seeking medical attention from an orthopedic surgeon is crucial for proper diagnosis. The diagnosis typically involves a physical examination and imaging tests. Treatment options for meniscus tear depend on factors such as the tear’s location, size, and severity, as well as the patient’s age and activity level. Conservative measures like rest, ice, physical therapy, and supportive devices such as crutches or knee braces can also help in minor tears. While in some cases, surgical intervention is required to repair or remove the torn portion of the meniscus.

Meniscus tear grades range from Grade 1 (minor fraying) to Grade 3 (complete tear). Treatment and recovery depend on the tear’s severity, with Grade 1 often managed conservatively and Grade 3 potentially requiring surgical intervention. Prompt medical evaluation is essential for proper care.

Meniscus Tear Diagnosis



During diagnosis, an orthopedic surgeon conducts a thorough physical examination to assess the severity of the meniscus tear. A doctor also asks about the symptoms, the intensity of the pain in the knee joint, if any injury happened in the past, etc. The doctor also puts slight pressure to check the tenderness and swelling around the affected area. In addition, to detect the severity of the meniscus tear, the surgeon will recommend a few diagnostic tests, such as.

  • MRI- It is usually suggested to get a clear image of the torn meniscus tissues and ligaments. 
  • X-Ray- It helps in getting a clear image of the knee joint in order to find any underlying bone problem. 

Meniscus Tear Treatments Options


The main treatment options for a meniscus tear include:

Surgical Treatment 

The most common treatment procedure for a torn meniscus is knee arthroscopy. It usually takes less than an hour and is performed under the influence of anesthesia. In knee arthroscopy, the doctor cleans the skin on your knee and covers the rest of your leg with a surgical drape. Afterward, they place a clamp on your upper thigh to help with positioning during surgery. The surgeon makes a few small stab incisions (cuts) in your knee called portals and then fills the knee joint with a sterile fluid. The fluid helps control minor bleeding in the joint and washes away debris, which helps the surgeon see inside the joint. After that, a surgeon inserts a small tool called an arthroscope into the incision. An arthroscope is a thin tube with a small light and video camera at the end. The camera projects video images from inside your knee onto a monitor. A surgeon uses the arthroscope to look at the tear and decide what surgical procedure to perform:

  • Meniscus repair: This procedure is suitable for tears that occur in the outer region of the meniscus where there is a good blood supply, allowing for potential healing. In this surgical procedure, a surgeon sews torn pieces of cartilage back together so they can heal on their own. However, because of the blood supply, less than 10% of tears are actually repairable.
  • Partial meniscectomy: It is more commonly performed than meniscus repair, particularly when the tear is in the inner region of the meniscus, where blood supply and healing potential are limited. During this procedure, a surgeon trims and removes the damaged cartilage and leaves healthy meniscus tissue in place.

A surgeon may insert other surgical tools depending on the technique used. When the meniscectomy or meniscus repair is complete, the surgeon closes the portals with stitches or surgical strips and covers the knee with a bandage.