Arthroscopic Meniscal Repair
Once it has been decided by the patient that the best option is surgery, the procedure is scheduled. It is performed on an outpatient basis and it is performed arthroscopically. The knee is systematically evaluated using the arthroscope and the nature of the problem is clarified. If the meniscal tear can be repaired, small stitches are placed from inside the knee out and then a small incision is made at the joint line to allow tying the knots. If the tear is not repairable, the minimal amount of meniscus possible is removed so that a smooth, stable surface remains.
Occasionally other types of problems are found at the time of arthroscopy such as cartilage damage or fragments of bone or cartilage. These can also be treated at that time. Photographs are often taken of the inside of the knee during the procedure, and a copy is made for the patient for subsequent review. The procedure usually takes about 20-30 minutes, although this can vary depending on numerous factors.
A knee brace is worn for six weeks after surgery while walking. The knee is carefully rehabilitated in therapy with a progressive program of exercises so that the patient can return as quickly as possible to activities and sports. The long-term outcome of meniscal repair and/or partial meniscal excision is quite good. Most patients have few limitations and return to participation in most, if not all, of their pre-injury activities.