A torn meniscus is one of the most common knee injuries and can occur in people of all ages and activity levels. In many cases, surgery is the best path forward for regaining pain-free function of the knee, but you wonder whether you’d only be adding to your discomfort and inviting complications. Not so fast.
Thanks to minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery, we can repair meniscus tears quickly and with fewer complications than open surgery.
At our practice, Dr. William Schell is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who specializes in arthroscopic surgery for meniscus tears. To give you an idea of the many benefits of this approach to restoring your knee, we outline a few below.
Each year in the United States, about 850,000 meniscus tears are repaired surgically. The primary reasons why people opt for surgery are to relieve knee pain and to restore function.
Your meniscus is a piece of cartilage that has limited ability to heal on its own. We call the outer third of your meniscus the red zone because this area of the soft tissue has blood vessels that help the tissue to heal. The inner two-thirds, however, is called the white zone because it doesn't have any vasculature, which means it doesn’t have access to healing resources.
Many meniscus tears involve the larger white zone, which makes surgical intervention a good idea if you want to restore pain-free movement in your knee.
In the past, open surgery was required to repair a meniscus. All of that has changed with the advent of arthroscopy a few decades ago. Today, we only make a few ¼-inch incisions in your knee, through which we insert a small, lighted camera and specialized instruments that help us do the repairs.
This minimally invasive approach to repairing your meniscus tear offers several advantages over open surgery, including:
As a result of arthroscopy, your recovery is much shorter than it would be with open surgery, and you’re able to take to your feet sooner. In fact, Dr. Schell often performs meniscus repair on an outpatient basis, which means no overnight stay in the hospital.
When it comes to how long it takes for you to recover, the answer depends on the extent of the tear and what we had to do during your procedure. In most cases, we ask that you use crutches and/or a knee brace for a few weeks to give your knee time to heal after surgery.
Physical therapy also plays a big role in how quickly you recover, so we recommend that you participate fully.
Once your knee has healed, you should be able to move around with confidence and far less discomfort.
If you’d like to learn more about the advantages of arthroscopic repair for your meniscus tear, please contact our New York City office on the Upper West Side on Columbus Circle.