Arthroscopic meniscus repair is an outpatient surgical procedure to repair torn knee cartilage. The torn meniscus is repaired by a variety of minimally invasive techniques and requires postoperative protection to allow healing. Physical therapy is useful to regain full function of the knee, which occurs on average 4-5 months after surgery.
The goal of meniscus surgery is to preserve healthy meniscus tissue. A meniscus tear requires a blood supply to heal. Only the outer third portion of the meniscus has the blood supply to enable healing of a tear. Repairs are generally limited to this peripheral region of the meniscus.
Possible benefits of arthroscopic meniscus repair
The meniscus is an important structure for load transmission and shock absorption in the knee. The knee is subjected to up to 5 times body weight during activity, and half this force is transmitted through the meniscus with the knee straight, and 85% of the force goes through the meniscus with the knee bent ninety degrees. Loss of the meniscus increases the pressure on the articular (gliding) cartilage, which leads to degenerative changes. A successful meniscus repair preserves meniscus tissue and mitigates these changes.