Meniscus Surgery in Seattle
The meniscus is an important structure. It functions as a shock-absorber, helps distribute weight, and protects the articular cartilage. The goal of a meniscal repair is to preserve the meniscus so it can continue to provide its function within the knee joint.
How Does An Orthopedic Surgeon Repair the Meniscus After a Tear?
Meniscus repairs are typically reserved for young patients with specific tear patterns. In order for the meniscus to be repaired and heal successfully the tear must be near the outer edge of the meniscus. This is called the vascular zone and is where the meniscus receives its blood supply (nutrients from the blood vessels are necessary for healing). If the tear is not located in the vascular zone, or is complex in nature, a partial meniscectomy is typically performed.
Unfortunately, less than 10% of meniscus tears are repairable. Studies have shown that as high as 40% of patients undergoing a meniscal repair may require further surgery due to incomplete meniscal healing.
Minimally invasive arthroscopic techniques are used to repair the meniscus. Patients who undergo a meniscal repair must be more cautious postoperatively and typically have more restrictions than those undergoing a partial meniscectomy.
What is a Partial Meniscectomy?
The surgical treatment for most meniscus tears involves trimming out the torn portion of the meniscus. This is known as a partial meniscectomy. Meniscectomy was originally performed as an open procedure but with the development of minimally invasive arthroscopic techniques, a partial meniscectomy has evolved into one of the most successful and commonly performed orthopedic procedures. During this procedure, only the portion of meniscus that is torn is removed and the healthy remaining meniscus is preserved. The size and configuration of the tear determines how much meniscus is removed.
Contact our knee doctor in Kirkland, WA, to learn more about your treatment options for a torn meniscus.