The two surgical treatment options for a meniscus tear are meniscal repair and partial meniscectomy (removal of the torn portion of the meniscus). Meniscus repair is indicated for meniscus tears with a simple tear pattern and adequate blood supply for healing. More often than not, the torn meniscal tissue is not suitable for repair. In these cases, the most effective treatment is to remove the torn portion of the meniscus to provide pain relief and recreate a smooth meniscal edge to prevent further joint damage.
Partial meniscectomy is an arthroscopic procedure in which two small incisions called “portals” are made in the front of the knee. A small camera is inserted into the joint through one portal and small arthroscopic tools are inserted through the other to remove the damaged tissue. Only the unstable torn portion of the meniscus is removed. As much healthy meniscus as possible is left intact so that it may continue to function as a cushion and protector of the articular cartilage.
Arthroscopic partial meniscectomy is an outpatient surgery. Patients go home the same day and can walk with crutches immediately. Duration of recovery ranges from 2 weeks to 3 months depending on the nature of the tear and associated injuries.