Meniscus Tear - Knee Cartilage
The menisci are cartilage structures in the knee joint that act as buffers between the bones. The menisci are vulnerable to injury, especially during twisting motions used for sports. Some tears in certain parts of the meniscus may heal on their own, but in many cases surgery is necessary. Arthroscopic surgery is the accepted method of treating meniscus tears. Because the joint is not fully opened, recovery is faster and has fewer complications than with older open surgery methods.
An arthroscope is a very small surgical instrument. It consists of a narrow tube that contains a lens and a lighting system that allows a surgeon to see inside of the joint. Narrow surgical instruments are inserted through small incisions. With an arthroscope, only small incisions, about ¼” to ½” in length, are needed, and the joint does not need to be fully opened.
After making the small incisions, the surgeon will fill the joint space with a sterile saline (salt-water) solution. The fluid expands the joint and allows your surgeon to have a better view of your knee. Next, the arthroscope is inserted. It may be repositioned to view the joint from various angles. Your surgeon may make additional small incisions and use other slender surgical instruments to trim torn meniscus pieces. A surgical shaver is used to smooth the remaining meniscus.
The recovery time is different for everyone. It depends on the extent of your condition and the type of surgery that you had. Full recovery can take several weeks or months.