Medial Meniscus Tear Surgery

Orthopaedic Surgeon Mr Richard Villar talks to about meniscus tear surgery,surgical techniques and recovery times.


Mr Richard Villar

Mr Villar is a leading Orthopedic Surgeons. As former Surgeon to the British Army Special Air Service Regiment he has practiced medicine in some of the most remote and challenging environments. Here he talks exclusively to about cartilage meniscus surgery, when he would operate, how the operation is done and the expected length of recovery time.

Knee cartilage surgery

There are two types of cartilage tear. The first is an acute tear which may occur in a sportsperson who suffers a sudden twist of the knee and acute knee pain, typically medially (on the inside) which results in a tear of the medial meniscus (cartilage). The other type of tear is more typically suffered in older people where degeneration plays a part is a small tear developing over time. This will often present as a more chronic, long-term pain at inside/back of the knee.

MRI scan is often used to confirm the diagnosis and then an arthroscopy performed to either repair or remove the torn cartilage. Repairing the cartilage is a good thing but the surgeon must be sure that it's going to heal. Tears near to the blood supply on the outside of the cartilage are more likely to heal well. Tears in the body of the cartilage where the blood supply is less will not heal as well and so repairs are less likely to work and removing the torn cartilage is the better option. Removal is also more commonly performed in degenerative cases.

The other option is to leave the knee without surgery and to focus on rehabilitating the knee. This can work well dependant on the extent of the symptoms that the patient is suffering and their activity levels. Physiotherapy and a rehabilitation program are advised.

After surgery treatment may vary depending on the symptoms and the surgeon. Crutches maybe used to slow the patient down and ensure at least partial rest for the first few days. Villar recommends at least 2 weeks off work initially. After this time, Physiotherapy is very useful. It could then be up to 6 months before the athlete feels ready to compete in contact sports. Non-contact sports will probably allow a more rapid return.

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