This minimally-invasive outpatient procedure is designed to remove the damaged portion of the meniscus, a layer of cartilage on top of the tibia that cushions and stabilizes the knee joint. The procedure may be performed with local or regional anesthetic.
The patient is positioned so that the knee is clearly visible to the physician, and the area is cleaned and sterilized.
Accessing the Joint
The surgeon creates two to five small incisions in the knee. An arthroscopic camera is inserted. The surgeon uses it to evaluate the cartilage and ligaments in the knee. The other incisions will be used as access points for other arthroscopic tools.
Repairing the Meniscus
The surgeon cuts or shaves away the torn piece of the meniscus, preserving as much healthy tissue as possible. The edges of the area are cleaned and smoothed, and the rest of the joint is inspected for damage.
End of Procedure
The instruments are removed and the incisions are closed with sutures or surgical staples. The knee is bandaged.
Rehabilitation varies depending on the patient and type of injury. Patients may use crutches, but can generally walk on the knee within one to two days of the procedure. A treatment plan may include exercises to strengthen the joint. Full recovery usually takes two to four weeks.