What is a meniscus tear?

A meniscus tear is an injury to one of the two C-shaped cartilages in your knee, the menisci. These tears can occur due to sports injuries, sudden twists, or degenerative changes with age. 

Symptoms of a meniscus tear

The symptoms of a meniscus tear can vary in intensity and will reflect the severity and location of the meniscus tear, and can include the following:

  • Knee pain: Often the first and most noticeable symptom, especially when twisting or turning the knee.
  • Swelling: The knee may swell due to inflammation, typically occurring within the first 24-48 hours after the injury.
  • Stiffness: A feeling of tightness or limited range of motion in the knee joint.
  • Catching or locking: A sensation that the knee is getting stuck or locked in place during movement.
  • Difficulty straightening the knee fully: Restriction in extending the knee completely.
  • Popping sensation: Some people experience a distinct pop at the time of injury or when moving the knee.
  • A feeling of instability: The knee might feel weak or as though it might give way under pressure or during certain activities.
  • Tenderness: Pain or discomfort when pressing on the knee, particularly along the joint line where the meniscus is located.
Banner media

What is meniscal repair?

Meniscal repair is a procedure aimed at stitching and preserving the torn meniscus. It’s typically chosen for younger patients or those with tears in the outer, blood-rich area of the meniscus, where healing is more likely. Repair maintains the integrity and functionality of the meniscus, which is crucial for knee stability and long-term joint health. The recovery from a repair is usually longer, requiring more time for the meniscus to heal properly.

What is meniscal debridement?

Meniscal debridement involves trimming and removing the damaged part of the meniscus. This procedure is often selected for tears in the inner part of the meniscus, which lacks a good blood supply and is less likely to heal on its own. Debridement can alleviate pain and improve knee function more quickly than repair, but it does involve removing some of the meniscal tissue, which could have long-term implications for the knee joint.

woman holding her knee

Which treatment is better, meniscal repair or debridement?

The decision between these two approaches is made based on several factors, including the type of tear, its location, age, activity level, and overall knee health. Your surgeon will evaluate these factors to determine the best course of action for your specific situation.

Logo media

Schedule Your Appointment Regain Your Mobility & Lifestyle

(888) 359-1833 Contact Us
Contact us media

What can cause a meniscus tear?

The menisci, C-shaped cartilage pieces in your knee, play a vital role in weight distribution and stability. Tears often happen during activities that involve bending and twisting the knee, especially in sports or due to age-related wear.

What are the symptoms?

You may experience pain, swelling, joint locking, and an inability to straighten your knee fully. Some people also report a popping sensation in the knee.

Recovery from meniscal repair or debridement

Recovery from meniscal repair is typically longer, requiring a supportive brace and several weeks of physical therapy, with full recovery in about four months. Debridement recovery is quicker, with most patients resuming normal activities within a week and sports in about two months.

Banner media

Why choose us?

When you choose our clinic for your meniscus surgery, you’re entrusting your care to a team of knee specialists who are not only experienced but also highly educated and trained. Our surgeons have graduated from top medical schools and completed rigorous fellowships in orthopaedic surgery, with a special focus on knee procedures. This advanced training ensures they are adept in both meniscal repair and debridement, using the most effective, minimally invasive techniques. 

We pride ourselves on staying abreast of the latest advancements in knee care, ensuring you receive the most up-to-date treatments. Our team’s commitment to excellence and patient-centered care, combined with their comprehensive education and training, means you receive the highest quality of care tailored to your specific needs. Let us guide you through your journey to recovery with the skill and compassion you deserve.

Meniscal Repair vs Debridement FAQ

What determines the choice between repair and debridement?

The decision is based on the tear’s location, size, and blood supply. Younger patients with good blood supply to the torn area are often candidates for repair.

Are there risks?

While generally safe, potential risks include infection, bleeding, further injury, blood clots, nerve or vessel damage, and knee stiffness.

What can I expect during recovery from meniscus surgery?

Recovery involves some pain and swelling, with physical therapy crucial for full knee functionality. The timeline varies depending on the type of surgery.

How long before I can return to sports after meniscus surgery?

After debridement, sports activities can often be resumed in about two months. For repair, it may take around four months.

Are there any long-term limitations after meniscus surgery?

Most patients return to their previous level of activity, but this can depend on the knee’s overall health and the type of surgery.

How does meniscal surgery improve knee function?

The surgery aims to stabilize the knee, reduce pain, and prevent further damage, improving overall knee function and quality of life.

Schedule Your Appointment Have Confidence in Your Future

Contact Us
Contact us media
Accessibility: If you are vision-impaired or have some other impairment covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act or a similar law, and you wish to discuss potential accommodations related to using this website, please contact our Accessibility Manager at (888) 359-1833.
Contact Us