A sudden twisting movement of the knee during a sports activity may cause a meniscal injury. Some people become injured just after stepping on an uneven surface or rising from a squat. The risk for injury increases with age as the resilience of the meniscus of the knee weakens. In persons with a degenerative disease of the knee such as osteoarthritis, a meniscal tear could be an unfortunate sequela.
What is a Meniscectomy?
While not all tears of the meniscal disc may be repaired surgically, your injury might have a good prognosis for surgical intervention. An experienced meniscus surgeon in Orem can perform a surgical procedure called a meniscectomy. It utilizes arthroscopy, which minimizes injury to soft tissue.
Instead of opening the knee joint completely, the surgeon creates a small incision and inserts a tiny camera to look inside the joint. Other incisions allow for placement of the necessary surgical instruments to repair the tear. A meniscectomy usually involves removal of a torn piece of cartilage with the help of scissors and shavers.
Arthroscopic meniscectomy is associated with minimal pain and discomfort. It involves anesthesia, which should keep in you a comfortable haze during the procedure. Expect to take pain medication after the anesthesia has worn off.
Does it Heal?
It is important to understand that the knee is a complex joint, which consists of bone, joint fluid, muscle attachments, and various components. Some of these components have a limited blood supply, which affects their healing ability. Outside of the red zone of the meniscal disc is a white zone that is avascular—that is without blood supply.
In structures like the meniscus part of the nutritive supply comes from the joint (synovial) fluid. Depending on the location of the tear, some parts of the disc could heal rather well, but other parts will not. Injuries to the inner zone of the disc, which get nutrition from joint fluid, usually require surgery. Otherwise, they will not heal and could result in dysfunction in knee movement, and various disruption in daily life.
Knowing the Risks
Arthroscopic meniscectomy offers an alternative to traditional knee surgery. The use of technological innovations has lowered the risk for complications associated with surgery to the knee. Of course, unforeseen complications must be considered, but rather than focusing on the bad things that could happen, it’s better for everyone to think about the promising results.
The risks typically associated with meniscal repair are post-operative infection resulting in joint instability, related rupture, muscles weakness, and joint stiffness. Complications are a bigger issue for patients who have been diagnosed with co-morbidities. They must be educated on the risks before consenting to the procedure.
A meniscal tear may not heal without medical intervention. When indicated, the best option for you may be for a surgeon to repair the tear. Don’t kick yourself too hard if you have injured yourself. Instead of wallowing all day and giving yourself a hard time, educate yourself and learn about treatment options. An orthopedic surgeon may be able to help restore function to your injured knee.