Meniscus tear (removal vs repair)

Background

The meniscus has commonly previously been referred to as ‘cartilage’ in the knee. It is actually a structure made of cartilage that is separate from articular cartilage. It is a strong shock absorber within the knee and spreads force and load. It is commonly injured in many individuals and is at risk in playing most sports.

Treatment

A tear in the meniscus most often requires surgery to resolve a patient’s pain. It is best to preserve as much meniscus as possible in order to help share forces across the joint and therefore help prevent osteoarthritis. This is achieved with meniscal repair. However, sometimes repair is not possible due to the type of tear and the quality of the meniscus and that is when resection or removal of the torn piece of meniscus is performed. Both of the procedures are performed as day-case operations and with arthroscopy (keyhole surgery).

Rehab

The rehab is under the guidance of our physiotherapy team and initially involves working on range of motion exercises. The specifics depend on whether a resection or repair is performed. A resection means that the rehab is faster with no restrictions post-op. A repair requires more caution with the rehab with initial restriction of movement while the repaired meniscus heals. Once a full range of motion is established, muscle-strengthening work will commence. Then follows our programme of sports specific rehab, which we can conduct in association with any team physio, prior to a successful return to sport.