Meniscal Repair vs. Debridement

The surgical repair or debridement of a torn meniscus, a wedge-shaped cartilage disc that cushions and absorbs shock in the knee.

Meniscal Repair vs. Debridement

The meniscus is a wedge-shaped cartilage disc in the knee that cushions and absorbs shock between the femur (thighbone) and tibia (shinbone). Mensical tears often result in pain, swelling, stiffness, a catching or locking sensation, and sometimes weakness in the knee. Through a clinical exam and some advanced imaging, your doctor can determine the size, location and type of tear that is present. Conservative treatment with the RICE protocol (rest, ice, compression, elevation), NSAIDs and eventually physical therapy are often first-line treatment options for acute and/or minor tears. If symptoms persist or the knee is unstable, surgical intervention may be necessary. The outside third of the meniscus, or peripheral meniscus, has a rich blood supply (also known as the “red zone”) and if a tear occurs here a meniscal repair can be performed through a knee arthroscopy (See “Knee Arthroscopy” for more information). If the tear is located at the inner two-thirds of the meniscus, which lacks a blood supply (also known as the “white zone”), then the proper surgical intervention would be to debride away the unstable meniscus. Both of these surgical treatment options are performed in an outpatient ambulatory surgical center where the patient to able to recover at home post-operatively. The post-operative course will be tailored to the type of procedure performed, where a repair would require a period of immobilization and some weight bearing restrictions and a debridement would require less restrictions.

Left: Partial meniscal debridement for a tear in the “white zone”; Right: Meniscus repair for a tear in the “red zone”

Every Patient Matters

Every patient receives an in-depth consultation to devise a treatment plan that is right for their problem. Our specialists prefer non-operative and non-invasive treatments whenever possible, including physical therapy, medications, and/or injections. When we require surgery, we will then use minimally invasive surgical techniques to fix your problem, whether it is fixing a broken bone or repairing a tendon. Our goal is always to get you back to living your life normally as soon as possible.

With proper treatment, Dr. DeNoble can treat and fix even complete tears. He is an expert in the current minimally invasive standard of arthroscopic repair, avoiding the need for large incisions, and ensuring you can get back to your life in tip-top form.

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