All You Need To Know About Meniscus Tear Surgery

Written by Mr Bilal Barkatali

Meniscus tear surgery, also known as meniscus repair surgery, is a procedure to repair or remove a torn meniscus. The specific type of surgery will depend on the location and ...

Meniscus Tear Surgery

Table Contents

What Is Meniscus Tear Surgery?

A meniscus tear is a common injury to the cartilage in the knee. It can be caused by a sudden twist or turn, or by gradual wear and tear. Symptoms of a meniscus tear include pain, swelling, and difficulty straightening or bending the knee.

Meniscus tear surgery, also known as meniscus repair surgery, is a procedure to repair or remove a torn meniscus. The specific type of surgery will depend on the location and size of the tear,as well as the patient's age and activity level.

There are several different techniques that can be used to repair a meniscus tear, including:

1.    Arthroscopic Meniscal repair: This is a minimally invasive procedure in which small incisions are made in the knee and a camera is inserted to allow the surgeon to see the tear. The surgeon can then repair the tear using sutures or staples.

2.    Arthroscopic Meniscectomy: This is a procedure to remove the torn part of the meniscus. Itis usually done when the tear is too large to repair or when the patient is older and less active.

3.    Meniscal transplant: This is a more complex procedure in which the damaged meniscus is removed and replaced with a healthy meniscus from a donor. This procedure is usually only done in rare cases.

Recovery from meniscus tear surgery typically takes several weeks, and physical therapy is often needed to help the knee heal and regain strength.

Who needs to have meniscus tear surgery?

Meniscus tear surgery is typically recommended for people who have a tear in their meniscus and are experiencing symptoms such as pain, swelling, and difficulty moving their knee. The specific treatment recommendation will depend on the size and location of the tear, as well as the patient's age and activity level.

In general, meniscus tear surgery is more likely to be recommended for people who are younger and more active, since they are more likely to benefit from the improved knee function that can result from the surgery. Meniscus tear surgery may also be recommended for people with larger or more complex tears, as these may not heal on their own.

On the other hand, meniscus tear surgery may not be recommended for people who are older and less active, since the benefits of the surgery may be less pronounced in these individuals. In some cases, a meniscectomy (procedure to remove the torn part of the meniscus) maybe recommended instead of a repair, since the repair may not hold up as well in people who are less active.

It's important to note that meniscus tear surgery is usually only recommended after other treatments, such as rest, ice, and physical therapy, have been tried and have not provided sufficient relief

Risk Factors included in Meniscus Tear Surgery

Like any surgery, meniscus tear surgery carries some risks. However, the procedure is generally considered safe, and serious complications are rare.

Some potential risks of meniscus tear surgery include:

1.    Infection: As with any surgery, there is a risk of infection. This risk can be minimized by proper hygiene and taking antibiotics as prescribed.

2.    Blood clots: There is a low risk of blood clots forming in the leg after surgery, which can be serious if they travel to the lungs. To reduce this risk, you may be given blood thinners and asked to move your legs frequently after surgery.

3.    Nerve or blood vessel damage: There is a small risk of damaging nerves or blood vessels during surgery. This can result in numbness, tingling, or weakness in the leg.

4.    Stiffness or loss of range of motion: It's possible that the knee may become stiff or have a reduced range of motion after surgery. Physical therapy can help to improve range of motion and prevent stiffness.

5.    Re-tear or failure of repair: There is a small risk that the repair will fail or that the meniscus will re-tear after surgery.

It's important to discuss the risks of meniscus tear surgery with your surgeon before the procedure, so that you can make an informed decision about whether it is right for you.

Recovery After Meniscus Tear Surgery Treatment

Recovery after meniscus tear surgery will depend on the type of procedure that was done and the patient's individual circumstances. In general, however, most people can expect the following:

1.    Pain and swelling: Pain and swelling are common after meniscus tear surgery, and can be managed with pain medication and ice.

2.    Rehabilitation: Physical therapy is usually recommended to help the knee heal and regain strength. This may involve exercises to improve range of motion, strength, and balance.

3.    Returning to activity: How quickly you can return to your normal activities will depend on the type of surgery you had and your individual circumstances. In general, people who have had a meniscectomy (procedure to remove the torn part of the meniscus) may be able to return to normal activities more quickly than those who have had a repair.

4.    Driving: You may be able to start driving again when you can safely operate a vehicle, which is usually when you can comfortably control the pedals and steer the car. This may be as early as a few days after surgery, or it may take several weeks, depending on the extent of your surgery and how quickly you recover.

It's important to follow your surgeon's instructions and any physical therapy recommendations to ensure the best possible recovery.


Meniscus surgery for a torn meniscal cartilage can cause significant symptoms such as locking and giving way of the knee. If these do not improve with physio or if the tear is large and the knee is locked, then you may benefit from meniscus surgery to repair or remove the torn meniscus. The surgery is generally safe with a low risk profile. The recovery can be 2-12 weeks depending on the type of operation. Always discuss in depth and informed consent before proceeding to surgery is essential.

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