The menisci are two “C” shape elastic structures inside the knee joint which separate the bones forming the knee joint. This ensures that there is smooth movement of the knee joint.
The menisci are analogous to the shock-absorbers of a vehicle. They aid in distributing the various stresses across the knee joint in day-to-day activities. These menisci also increase the surface area of loading in general and avoids future arthritis due to wear and tear.
This crucial meniscus can get torn due to a multitude of reasons leading to pain, swelling, limping, locking in a fixed position and difficulty in squatting, walking and climbing stairs.
The menisci can get torn following Road Traffic Accidents, sports injuries and any form of twisting injury of the knee. Sometimes even a trivial twist like slipping in the bathroom, getting down stairs or climbing down the pavement on the road can cause a meniscal tear. Repeated short insults to the knee like jogging, running on uneven surfaces etc can cause overuse meniscal tear of the knee.
Unfortunately meniscal tears do not heal with medications, since most of the meniscus does not have blood supply. Only small peripheral tears of the meniscus may heal with adequate rest, bracing, medications.
Meniscal tears need arthroscopic intervention. Usually two or maximum of three small 3 mm entry points and hence two or three stitches are enough to visualise the joint and tackle meniscus problems. Meniscus resection - If it is a small tear, that small part can be resected. This prevents the small tear from extending into the rest of the meniscus and getting converted into a bigger tear and causing more damage.
Meniscus repair – young patients with recently diagnosed tears may not need resection always. When the tear is fresh, the meniscus can be repaired 100% and this ensures good healing.
1-2 days(patients prefer weekend surgery)
No. Besides white-collar job professionals return to work the same week.
Two small stitches are only needed. Hence scars are small and cosmetically appealing. In males, the presence of hair, obscures the scar completely.
In case of meniscal resections, the patient can go back to work in a couple of days itself once they are comfortable, especially for deskjobs and IT professionals. In case of meniscal repairs, the patient can go back to work with some restrictions in day-to-day activities.
Patients usually start driving cars in a week or two, based on their comfort.
Spinal anaesthesia or short general anaesthesia is sufficient usually.
If the patient is fit and there are no other comorbid medical illnesses, he/she can get discharged on the same day or next day morning.
Definetely yes. Surgery is only half the battle. Adequate exercising with preplanned protocols under the guidance of your surgeon and physiotherapist is mandatory and ensures good successful results. A brace maybe needed for some time to protect the reconstructed ligament.
I meniscal repair has been performed, you may need crutches for some time.
The patient can usually return to sports in 4-8 weeks