Meniscus tear is a common sports injury, which thanks to the progress of medical technology is now treated arthroscopically, not through a total or partial removal but by suturing and saving the meniscus – where possible – protecting patients from future complications such as osteoarthritis.
What is the meniscus?
The menisci could be likened to suspensions, as they absorb the vibrations applied to the knee joint. In addition, they act as joint stabilizers by distributing body loads evenly and smoothly over the entire surface of the knee.
In each knee, there is an inner and an outer meniscus, which are crescent-shaped and quite elastic.
When is a meniscus tear caused?
Meniscus tear can occur in young people due to injury, but also in older patients due to degeneration and loss of elasticity.
Traumatic meniscus tear in young people is also very common and occurs when the foot “sticks” to the ground and the body twists, usually during a sports activity.
How do I know if I have a meniscus tear?
Patients with meniscus tear usually complain about pain when walking, especially when changing direction, pain after deep sitting, and swelling of the knee due to the presence of fluid in the joint.
In some cases, the knee may be locked and the joint cannot be bent or stretched, which requires immediate treatment.
How is a meniscus tear diagnosed?
In addition to clinical history taking and examination, an imaging test, especially an MRI scan, is required to detect a meniscus tear.
How is meniscus tear treated?
Traumatic meniscus tears are treated arthroscopically. Knee arthroscopy is performed through only two skin incisions of about one centimeter each in length.
How is arthroscopy performed?
The surgeon places a special camera (the arthroscope) in the first hole, with which he can “see” what is happening inside the joint, while in the second hole he places special microscopic tools that help him repair the rupture.
The purpose of the arthroscopy is to remove only the damaged part of the meniscus and to smoothen the rest of the surface that remains stable in the knee joint.
How can the meniscus be saved?
There are cases of patients, mainly young people, with recent ruptures located in the periphery of the meniscus (in the area where due to increased vascularity and perfusion the meniscus can heal) in which the organ can be saved. Then, it is recommended to suture and save the meniscus with the same arthroscopic method.
This is because the presence and function of the menisci is very important for the knee, as they delay the onset of arthritis, and even partial arthroscopic removal of the meniscus (meniscectomy) can have degenerative effects over time.
Frequently asked questions
What are the advantages of arthroscopic meniscus suturing?
According to clinical studies, knees that have previously undergone -mainly- total meniscus removal, have developed osteoarthritis.
Meniscus suturing allows the patient to return to an active lifestyle, with a reduced risk of developing osteoarthritis.
What is the postoperative course?
After the arthroscopic restoration of the meniscus rupture, the patient does not need to remain in the hospital for treatment and begins to walk, following a program of knee muscle strengthening exercises.
How safe is the operation?
As an operation, arthroscopy and suturing of the meniscus is considered completely safe. Its success depends largely on the experience of the surgeon. Suturing the meniscus requires excellent knowledge of the anatomy of the area and a great familiarity with arthroscopic surgery and the tools used, which is why performing it requires the surgeon to be highly specialized and experienced.
Why should I trust Dr. Sakellariou?
Dr. Sakellariou has been highly trained in centers abroad and has extensive experience in a number of surgeries at major US hospitals.
Dr. Sakellariou offers patients with meniscus tear the most contemporary and safe method to deal with this problem.