Article provided by: Walter A Thomas, MD
The menisci are the cartilage discs that connect the thighbone to the shinbone. They act like shock absorbers for your skeletal system. They also work to keep your knee stable. Meniscus tears often occur as a result of sports injuries in football, hockey and other activities. They can also be injured from kneeling and the risk of injury increases with age as the knee bones and tissues start to erode. When you tear your meniscus you may wonder whether you need a meniscectomy vs meniscus repair.
Symptoms and Treatment of a Torn Meniscus
If you suffer from a torn meniscus you will likely feel pain and discomfort when you twist the knee and you might not be able to fully straighten your leg. Your knee may be swollen and could feel stiff. The treatment for a torn meniscus varies depending on the severity of the injury. Your doctor will examine your knee and perform diagnostics tests such as digital x-rays to view the damage.
The doctor must determine the size of the tear, the type of tear and the exact location. You will likely be required to stay off of your knee as much as possible and keep it stable. You will need to give it rest and apply ice to reduce swelling. You may also use pain relievers to minimize discomfort. Minor tears may heal without any surgery.
When the injury is severe or doesn’t heal, your doctor may recommend surgical treatment. There are several treatments for a torn meniscus. Your doctor may be considering a full or partial meniscectomy vs meniscus repair.
Meniscectomy VS Meniscus Repair
When choosing between a meniscectomy vs meniscus repair your doctor will analyze the information obtained during diagnostics testing along with other factors such as your age and general health. The surgeon will view the tear from the inside using an arthroscope that is inserted into the knee with a small incision. This allows the doctor to look at the tear and to make a repair.
He will determine whether a partial or full meniscectomy vs meniscus repair is indicated. Arthorscopic repair, also called meniscus repair, is done using tiny devices that the surgeon inserts along the tear to essential hold it together. These remain inside and the body absorbs them over time.
With a partial meniscectomy the doctor removes the torn portion of the meniscus which will allow your knee to function properly and without pain. In a full meniscectomy, the surgeon removes the entire meniscus. Partial and full meniscectomy procedures are completed using an arthroscope and therefore they are considered low risk. After the surgery you will typically have a recovery period of about a month. You may need to wear a brace or cast during that time to keep your knee stable and will keep the weight off your knee by using crutches. Arthroscopic knee surgery is minimally invasive and provides you with a good option for repairing or removing the damaged meniscus so you can enjoy pain-free mobility in the future.
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