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Meniscus Surgery - What you need to know about Arthroscopic Surgery

Updated on July 4, 2010

A meniscus tear, often just referred to as a cartilage tear, is usually treated by means of meniscus surgery. The meniscus is the cartilage that helps connect your knee joint. Meniscus tears are common in young people who join in high impact athletics and in older folks where degenerative tears take place. Any motion where the upper body pivots unexpectedly while the lower body stays planted in place can lead to a tear.

Surgery isn’t necessary in all situations. But if after 72 hours of icing your knee, staying off your feet and keeping your leg elevated doesn't decrease the pain and swelling, it may be time to meet a medical professional. There are two fundamental kinds of meniscus surgery. Only meniscus connected to the blood supply via the vascular system are able to bear repair. If the portion of the cartilage torn isn’t the portion attached to the vascular system, a meniscectomy could be done to remove the broken cartilage.

Arthroscopic Surgery

Arthroscopic surgery is the most typical variety of meniscus surgery for managing tears. The name arthroscopy refers to the primary instrument used, the arthroscope. This little, pen-sized tool comes with a little camera and light that permits a surgeon to see inside the knee joint. Commonly, some kind of an X-ray is used to diagnosis at tear in the meniscus when a difficulty is suspected. The surgery only calls for very small cuts to be made around the knee cap, letting the incisions to heal quickly.

The real post surgery worry is not the healing of the incisions or fear of infection, but the healing of the knee joint afterwords. The surgery is an out-patient procedure with the entire process from surgery preparation to post-surgery surveillance taking place in merely a few hours. After the meniscus surgery you will be informed to use pain killers, a knee brace and ice packs. The knee brace helps steady the now prone cartilage as it heals and the ice packs help to diminish inflammation.

Recovering After Surgery

The physician's guidelines will be to stay off your feet and to elevate your leg as much as feasible for a few days. Low impact exercise should not commence until 3 months later with heavier exercise being acceptable after four months. Sports viewed as high impact where plenty of stress is forced on the knee joint should not be practiced for 6 to 8 months. If you participated heavily in games such as football or basketball, you will need to ease back into these activities slowly, and only with support from a health care provider.

Wise choices made prior to and during exercise will help you prevent ever needing meniscus surgery. Proper weight training ensures that all of your muscles are uniformly toned and are better able to deal with the stresses asked of them. Just as essential as strengthening is getting adequate rest in between intense workouts so that your body can heal. Lastly, be sure to use the correct sneakers for the both the sport you are playing and for your body type.

Although a meniscus tear is a terrifying and uncomfortable occurrence, it doesn't indicate you will never be able to participate in your favorite activities again. Take the time needed for a total recovery following meniscus surgery so that you can return to participating in the sports you love.

You can discover more concerning meniscus surgery and additional methods to prevent sports related injuries.


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    • rmcrayne profile image

      rmcrayne 6 years ago from San Antonio Texas

      Your hub is copied at New Health File DMCA at

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 7 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      Oh, this is the surgery I am seeking to avoid with strengthening my muscles. GREAT HUB! Voted it up. Very well organized and explained. Thank you very much!