Key Points about Meniscus Tear Repair Surgery

  • Meniscus tear repair surgery is a procedure that repairs torn meniscus tissue in the knee.
  • During the diagnostic period, your orthopedic surgery will order an MRI and perform an arthroscopy to evaluate how severe your injury is. Grade 3 tears will likely need surgery.
  • In preparation for surgery, inform your doctors of any medications you are taking and follow his or her pre-surgical instructions to ensure a successful surgery.
  • Your doctor may perform meniscus repair surgery using a variety of techniques such as arthroscopic repair surgery, arthroscopic partial meniscectomy, or total arthroscopic meniscectomy.
  • Most patients go home the day of surgery. Make sure to have a friend or family member there with you to drive you home.
  • You may have to wear a brace during recovery for four to six weeks after surgery and physical therapy four to six months after surgery.
  • During recovery, contact your doctor if you experience any of the following:
    • Trouble breathing.
    • Foot, calf, or ankle swelling.
    • Pus draining from the incision sites.
    • Fever.

Overview

Meniscus tear repair surgery is a common orthopedic procedure that is performed to repair torn meniscus tissue in the knee. Typically, meniscus repair surgery can be treated with a variety of minimally invasive techniques.

While anyone can sustain a meniscus tear, people who play sports such as football, hockey, or running are more at risk.

Physical therapy is typically recommended four to five months after surgery to help patients regain full function of the knee.

Meniscus surgery candidates

If you have a severe tear or if physical therapy and other nonsurgical therapies have not relieved your pain, you may be a candidate for meniscus tear repair surgery.

Meniscus surgery risks

Complications associated with surgery to repair a torn meniscus are rare but may occur. Common complications include knee stiffness, infection, and injury to the nerves in the skin.

Meniscus surgery preparation

In preparation for meniscus surgery, your surgeon will outline the benefits and risks of surgery as well as address any other questions you have.

Your care team will likely instruct you to:

  • Inform your doctor of any medications, including herbal medicines you may be taking.
  • Stop taking aspirin or blood thinners or any other medications your doctor thinks may interfere with the surgery or recovery.
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions on when you should stop eating or drinking prior to surgery.

Meniscus surgery expectations

There are three ways to perform meniscus surgery, including:

  • Arthroscopic repair surgery — During arthroscopic repair surgery, your orthopedic surgery will make an incision in the knee and use small surgical instruments to repair the tear. After the procedure is completed, he or she will close the area with stitches that will dissolve over time.
  • Arthroscopic partial meniscectomy. During a partial arthroscopic meniscectomy, your surgeon will take a piece of the torn meniscus to help the knee function normally.
  • Total arthroscopic meniscectomy — Your doctor will remove the entire torn meniscus in this procedure.

Meniscus surgery duration

A meniscus repair surgery lasts approximately one hour. You will be discharged as soon as you can walk on crutches and can drink oral fluids. You will need to have a driver take you home.