Anatomy of the Meniscus
Two wedge-shaped cartilage pieces are present between the thighbone and the shinbone. These are called menisci. They stabilize the knee joint and act as shock absorbers.
What is Meniscal Repair Surgery?
Meniscus repair is an outpatient surgical procedure to repair torn knee cartilage. A variety of minimally invasive procedures are used to repair a torn meniscus, and postoperative protection is required to allow for recovery.
Preparation for Meniscal Repair Surgery
- A thorough examination by your doctor is performed to check for any medical issues that need to be addressed prior to surgery.
- The doctor will ask you if you have allergies to medications, anesthesia, or latex.
- You should inform your doctor about any medications, vitamins, or supplements you are taking.
- Go for additional imaging tests such as X-ray or MRI as needed
- You should refrain from alcohol or tobacco at least a week prior to surgery.
- You should not consume any solids or liquids at least 8 hours prior to surgery.
- Arrange for someone to drive you home as you will not be able to drive yourself after surgery.
Procedure for Meniscal Repair Surgery
- Meniscus repair surgery is performed under general anesthesia.
- The doctor sterilizes the surgical area and makes a small incision in the knee during the procedure.
- A small tube with a camera called an arthroscope will be inserted through a small incision, which enables your surgeon to view the inside of your knee on a large screen.
- Small miniature instruments are inserted through other small incisions and the supporting structures of the knee are gently moved out of the way to access the torn meniscus.
- The torn meniscus will be pinned or sutured depending on the extent of the tear.
- The scope and instruments are removed after the repair is completed, and the incision is closed and covered with a bandage.
Postoperative Care for Meniscal Repair Surgery
- You will be transferred to the recovery area where your nurse will closely observe you for any allergic/anesthetic reactions and monitor your vital signs as you recover.
- You may notice some pain, swelling, and discomfort in the knee area. Pain and anti-inflammatory medications are provided as needed.
- Antibiotics may be prescribed to address the risk of surgery-related infection.
- Keep the surgical site clean and dry. Instructions on surgical site care and bathing will be provided.
- You will be placed on crutches with instructions on restricted weight-bearing. You are encouraged to walk with assistance as frequently as possible to prevent blood clots.
- You are advised to keep your leg elevated while resting to prevent swelling and pain.
- An individualized physical therapy protocol may be designed to help strengthen your knee muscles and optimize knee function.
- A periodic follow-up appointment will be scheduled to monitor your progress.
Risk and Complications of Meniscal Repair Surgery
Meniscus repair is a relatively safe procedure; however, as with any surgery, some risks and complications may occur, such as the following:
- Damage to nerves and blood vessels
- Blood clots or deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Allergic or anesthetic reactions