Meniscus Repair



A torn meniscus, a type of cartilage in the knee, is often treated with a common surgery called Meniscus Surgery. The procedure involves making a few small incisions and takes around an hour to complete. Recovery typically takes a few weeks, during which time rehabilitation is necessary. This surgery can alleviate pain, enhance mobility and stability, and allow patients to resume their normal activities. Various minimally invasive techniques can be used to repair the torn meniscus, and postoperative protection is necessary for healing. Physical therapy is beneficial to restore full knee function, which typically takes around 4-5 months after the surgery.

Diseases treated with Meniscus Surgery

Meniscus surgery is typically used to treat a torn meniscus. The meniscus is a piece of cartilage in the knee that can become damaged due to injury or wear and tear. In some cases, a meniscus tear may heal on its own with rest and physical therapy. However, more severe tears may require surgical intervention, such as meniscus surgery, to remove or repair the damaged tissue. The surgery is designed to alleviate pain, improve mobility and stability, and allow patients to resume their normal activities. The necessity of surgery for a torn meniscus depends on a number of factors such as the type, size and location of the tear, age, activity level, lifestyle and related injuries like an ACL tear, as well as the presence of symptoms such as pain, swelling, locking or buckling. Depending on the situation, healthcare professionals may recommend non-surgical treatments like rest, ice, compression, elevation, physical therapy, or knee injections like cortisone before considering surgery.

Preparation for Meniscus Surgery

If you and your surgeon agree to have surgery for a torn meniscus, you may undergo some tests beforehand. These may include blood tests, an electrocardiogram (EKG), and a chest X-ray to determine your suitability for surgery. However, if you are generally healthy, these tests are typically unnecessary.

The anesthesia team will determine what type of anesthesia you require for pain control. Local anesthesia, which numbs only the knee area, regional anesthesia, which numbs the body from the waist down, or general anesthesia, which puts you to sleep, may be administered. If you receive local or regional anesthesia, you may also receive a sedative to help you relax. For this type of procedure, a general anesthetic is usually given.


Several days prior to surgery, your healthcare provider will give you a prescription for pain management medications after the surgery, arrange for physical therapy or a crutch fitting, and provide instructions on how to prepare for the surgery, such as discontinuing certain medications and fasting for several hours prior to the procedure.

Meniscus Surgery Procedure

The knee arthroscopy is the most common surgery for a torn meniscus and generally takes less than an hour to complete. First, the patient receives anesthesia, and the surgical team cleans and covers the leg. The surgeon makes small incisions in the knee called portals, and a sterile fluid is used to fill the joint, which helps control bleeding and clears debris. Then, an arthroscope is inserted into the incision, which projects video images from inside the knee onto a monitor. The surgeon uses other surgical tools depending on the technique used to perform a meniscectomy or meniscus repair. If repairable, the torn pieces of cartilage are sewn back together to allow them to heal on their own. Finally, the surgeon closes the incisions with stitches or surgical strips and covers the knee with a bandage. Most people don’t need to stay overnight at the hospital and can leave when they’re ready.

Arthroscopic meniscus repair is a procedure that does not require an overnight hospital stay. After the surgery, the patient will typically have a cryocuff and a knee brace. The cryocuff is a device that provides compression and cold therapy to the knee. It has a bladder that surrounds the knee and a cooler that holds ice and water. By emptying and filling the bladder, the knee can be kept cool to reduce swelling and pain. The knee brace keeps the leg straight, and depending on the tear pattern, weight-bearing may be permitted immediately after surgery. It is recommended that patients rest for the first two days after surgery and elevate their limb to reduce swelling. Pumping the ankle up and down is also recommended to improve blood flow in the leg. Specific post-operative instructions will be given before discharge. Although patients are discharged on the same day of surgery, they may require some assistance for the first few days. Driving is not advised until the patient is off all narcotic pain medications and comfortable.

Benefits of Meniscus Surgery

If a skilled surgeon carries out the procedure, repairing the meniscus has a high success rate, and about 90% of patients experience positive outcomes. Injured knees are more prone to developing arthritis, but a successful repair can delay the onset of arthritic changes. Factors such as repairing the meniscus within two months, a tear located more towards the edge of the meniscus, and having ACL reconstruction surgery at the same time are associated with higher rates of successful meniscus healing.

Meniscus surgery can have several benefits for patients, such as reducing knee pain, improving knee function, increasing knee stability, and enhancing the ability to participate in daily activities and sports. The surgery can also prevent or slow down the progression of knee degeneration and osteoarthritis. By removing or repairing the damaged cartilage in the knee, patients may experience improved knee mobility, range of motion, and overall quality of life. Additionally, the minimally invasive techniques used in arthroscopic meniscus surgery can result in less postoperative pain, faster recovery, and less scarring compared to traditional open surgery. However, it’s important to note that the specific benefits of meniscus surgery can vary depending on the individual patient and the severity and type of meniscus tear.