Minimally invasive arthroscopic meniscal repair surgery is less traumatic to the muscles, ligaments, and tissues of the knee while relieving pain associated with a torn or moving meniscus.
- Untreated knee joint damage
- Torn menisci due to injury
The meniscus is a half-moon or C-shaped piece of fibrocartilage which is located at the peripheral aspect of the joint. There are two meniscii in each knee, the medial meniscus, and the lateral meniscus. Both are cartilaginous tissues that provide structural integrity to the knee when it undergoes tension and torsion, like shock absorbers. The majority of the meniscus has no blood supply. For that reason, when damaged the meniscus is usually unable to undergo normal healing processes. With age, the meniscus begins to deteriorate, often developing degenerative tears. Typically, when the meniscus is damaged the torn piece begins to move abnormally inside the joint. As the space between the bones of the joint is very small, this piece of meniscal tissue may become caught between the bones of the joint (femur and tibia). When this happens, the knee becomes painful, swollen, and difficult to move.
The most commonly performed surgical procedures on the knee include a meniscectomy (removal of the meniscus), meniscal repair, and ligament reconstruction. Arthroscopy involves inserting a fiberoptic telescope that is about the size of a pencil into the joint through an incision. Fluid is then inserted into the joint to distend the joint and to allow for the visualization of the structures within that joint. Using miniature instruments, the structures are examined and the surgery is performed. Arthroscopy is much less traumatic to the muscles, ligaments and the tissues than the traditional method of opening the knee.
Meniscal repairs are performed on tears near the outer 1/3 of the meniscus where a good blood supply exists, or on large tears that would require a near-total resection. The torn portion of the meniscus is repaired with sutures.. Meniscus repair restores the normal “shock absorbing” capabilities of the meniscus, thus protecting the articular surface of the knee and slowing the progression of arthritis.