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Arthroscopic Meniscal Repair

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Learn more about arthroscopic meniscal repair surgery at King Edward VII’s Hospital

Meniscus repair surgery involves a long, thin instrument called an arthroscope being passed into the knee through small cuts in the skin. The meniscus is a C-shaped piece of cartilage that sits between the bones of the thigh and the shin, helping to cushion the knee joint. It can become worn or it can tear through twisting and rotating.

Why would I need arthroscopic meniscal repair surgery?

Most patients requiring this type of surgery need it because they have torn their meniscus and it’s causing pain, discomfort and mobility issues. Some meniscal tears can heal themselves, but as there isn’t a good blood supply to the area, most require surgery.

What symptoms does arthroscopic meniscal repair surgery address?

Arthroscopic meniscal repair surgery aims to repair the wear and/or tear to the meniscus, reduce pain in the area and restore freedom of movement. It can also help you get back to your regular sporting activities and improve your overall quality of life.

When should you speak to your specialist about arthroscopic meniscal repair surgery?

If you think you’ve torn your meniscus, or you’re experiencing knee pain, stiffness and immobility, speak to your doctor about specialist surgery.

How is arthroscopic meniscal repair surgery performed?

Arthroscopic meniscal repair surgery is performed as keyhole surgery under a general anaesthetic. During surgery, your surgeon will insert an arthroscope into your knee which will enable them to see the meniscal repair on an external TV screen.

They will then pass other long, thin surgical instruments through small cuts in your knee to perform the repair before closing the cuts with surgical stitches.

What is the recovery like for arthroscopic meniscal repair surgery?

Your recovery from arthroscopic meniscal repair surgery will depend on multiple factors, including your age, fitness level and the nature of your procedure and your general level of health.

You can expect some pain and discomfort in your knee for a few days or weeks following surgery, and this can be managed with painkillers. Any swelling can also be helped by using ice packs. Your medical team will provide you with crutches and advise you how long you should use them for.

Most patients having arthroscopic meniscal repair surgery can expect to be able to bear weight on their leg after a few days and be back to their usual activities within two to four weeks. You will also be given some exercises and told exactly how and when to perform them.

Your surgeon will discuss the recovery process with you and recommend the best course of action for your recovery period.

Are there any risks/complications associated with arthroscopic meniscal repair surgery?

As with any medical procedure, it’s possible for risks or complications to arise. Speaking with your specialist or surgeon beforehand will help you avoid any adverse reactions.

Arthroscopic meniscal repair surgery has a relatively low risk of serious complications, but the following risks and complications can occur in a small number of cases:

  • Bleeding and infection
  • Swelling and bruising
  • Failure of the procedure
  • Permanent joint stiffness
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Damage to the surrounding nerves and blood vessels

How can I prepare for arthroscopic meniscal repair surgery?

Prior to arthroscopic meniscal repair surgery, your surgeon will discuss with you how best to prepare, as each patient is different with differing needs. It’s advisable to learn as much as you can about your procedure beforehand and discuss any concerns with your surgeon.

Common preparations for surgery include a general health assessment and routine blood tests, x rays or scans as requested by your surgeon.

A good level of general wellbeing will prepare you for a better outcome after surgery so it’s recommended that you eat healthily, exercise regularly if possible and cut back on smoking and drinking.

Prepare your home prior to surgery so that you’re comfortable whilst you’re recovering and plan to have someone take you home from hospital. Your specialist will discuss any specific preparations that you should make prior to surgery.

Are there alternatives for arthroscopic meniscal repair surgery?

Some meniscal tears can improve with physiotherapy alone, but the majority of cases require this kind of surgery to ease pain and restore normal movement. Your specialist will be able to discuss alternative procedures with you, depending on your circumstances.


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