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Meniscus Surgery

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Meniscus Surgery of the Knee

A torn or damaged meniscus can be both painful and debilitating. For many people with this disorder, a meniscus surgery is the best treatment option. Meniscus surgery of the knee is an evidence-based treatment that can resolve this issue permanently. Understanding this procedure is essential to making informed decisions and having a complete recovery.

What Is Meniscus Surgery of the Knee?

Your menisci are two pieces of cartilage on each knee that help to connect your femur and your lower leg. When one of your menisci becomes damaged, this can cause pain, swelling, and instability. Meniscus surgery repairs the damaged meniscus and, when necessary, removes damaged cartilage and scar tissue. This usually restores the knee to its former strength and function while reducing pain.

How Do I Prepare for Meniscus Surgery of the Knee?

Your orthopedist will let you know exactly how to prepare best for surgery. In some cases, people have better surgical outcomes when they engage in "pre-habilitation," or physical therapy before the surgery. Your doctor will also ask you to fast for a set period of time before the surgery, usually around eight hours. People also have better outcomes if they stop or reduce all substance use before surgery, including nicotine, alcohol, and pain medications.

When Is This Surgery Recommended?

This surgery is recommended when people have meniscal tears that compromise full painless function of the knee. Many doctors will try conservative approaches such as ice, anti-inflammatory drugs, and physical therapy first. In some cases, a surgical repair is the only option for recovery..

Dr. Doerr Orthopedic Surgeon
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What Are the Types of Meniscus Surgery of the Knee?

Most meniscus surgeries are performed arthroscopically, which means that the knee is not completely opened. This allows for a safer and faster recovery. Depending on your injury, your doctor may choose to repair your meniscus, remove problem pieces of it (called a meniscectomy), or a combination of these.

What Are the Risks and Potential Complications of Meniscus Surgery of the Knee?

Meniscus surgery of the knee has a low rate of complications, with complications occurring around 2% of the time. Some people may have blood clots after surgery from immobility. Your doctor will work with you to prevent these if you are at risk. In addition, some people have complications from the anesthesia used during the procedure. Tell your doctor if you have ever had a complication in a surgery or if you have any medication allergies. However, complications from this procedure are very rare and can usually be managed quickly.

What Happens During this Surgery?

During surgery, you will first be put under total anesthesia, which means you will be asleep. The area being operated on will be totally numbed. Then, your surgeon will make a small incision to insert instruments as well as a small camera. They will either connect damaged pieces of meniscus using small plastic sutures or remove any excessive damaged tissue. They will then close your incisions and you will be brought out of anesthesia in a recovery room.

 

What Happens During Recovery and Rehabilitation?

Some people who have meniscus surgery will need rehabilitation soon after surgery. In many cases, this is done by a physical therapist. The goal of this therapy is to reduce swelling and strengthen the muscles supporting the knee to ensure a full recovery. Most people can begin introducing normal activity within several weeks of their surgery. Pain is an issue initially and can be treated with ice, anti-inflammatory medications, pain medications, or a combination of these. Your orthopedic surgeon will determine a recovery and rehabilitation approach that is right for your unique situation.

Orthopedic Specialists

Jeffrey Hessing, MD and Timothy Doerr, MD have a passion for helping others. They have a combined 50 years of orthopedic excellence dedicated to the people of the Boise area. All of our surgeons are board certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery.

Dr. Doerr

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