Anatomy of the Meniscus
Two wedge-shaped cartilage pieces are present between the thighbone and the shinbone. These are called menisci. They stabilize the knee joint and act as shock absorbers.
What is Partial Meniscectomy?
Partial meniscectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the torn portion of the meniscus from the knee joint.
What are Meniscal Tears?
The meniscus is the C-shaped two pieces of cartilage located between thighbone and shin bone that act as shock absorbers and cushion the joints. Meniscus distributes the body weight uniformly across the joint and avoids the pressure on any one part of the joint and development of arthritis. Being the weight-bearing part, the meniscus is prone to wear and tear and meniscal tear is one of the common knee injuries. Meniscal tear may be developed by people of all. These tears are usually caused by twisting motion or over-flexing of the knee joint. Once the meniscus tears, there are painful flaps of tissue remaining that rub against the bones in the knee every time you bend or move your knee. When the bones rub against the tear, it causes a significant amount of pain. Sometimes the flaps are big enough to cause clicking or popping, and in some cases are so big they can physically block the knee from being able to move.
Symptoms of Meniscal Tears
You may have pain over the inner and outer side of the knee, swelling, stiffness of the knee, restricted movement of the knee, and difficulty in straightening your knee. There may be a feeling of catching or clicking. If conservative treatments such as pain medications, rest, and physical therapy fail to relieve pain, surgery may be recommended. Surgical treatment options depend on the location, length, and pattern of the tear. In some cases, if the tear is big enough or extremely painful, conservative treatment may be skipped and surgery will be the first alternative.
Arthroscopic Partial Meniscectomy Procedure
Partial meniscectomy is performed with arthroscopy, where typically 2-3 small incisions are made around the knee. Through one of the small incisions, a miniature camera is inserted to view the inside of the knee. Tiny surgical instruments are inserted through other small incisions to remove the portion that is torn. During the procedure, the torn meniscus is removed and the remaining edges of the meniscus are smoothened so that there are no sharp ends. Any unstable fragments causing locking and catching sensation will also be removed.
Partial meniscectomy helps in restoring or maintaining knee stability and offers faster and complete recovery. After surgery, rehabilitation exercises may help to restore knee mobility, strength and improve range of motion.
Typically, there are no restrictions on the amount of weight that can be put on the leg after surgery. Crutches are provided for comfort and often used in the first few days as pain and swelling start to come down. Bandages are removed 3 days after surgery and left open to air. Physical therapy is started a few days after surgery and is usually continued for 1-3 weeks after.