A meniscus tear happens when the cartilage that cushions your knee gets damaged. It’s one of the most common types of knee injuries — especially in sports — and unfortunately, it can be intensely painful.
If you suffer a meniscus tear, you might feel a popping sensation and pain at the time of your injury. Then, swelling, stiffness, joint instability, and loss of mobility begin to develop.
Aron Rovner, MD, and our team at New York Spine and Sports Surgery specialize in diagnosing and treating meniscus tears in Garden City, New York, and Fair Lawn, New Jersey. While small meniscus tears may not require surgery, arthroscopic surgery is the most common treatment for more serious tears.
Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive technique to repair torn meniscus cartilage. So if you find yourself dealing with a meniscus tear, here’s what you need to know about how surgery works.
How arthroscopy repairs your torn meniscus
Your meniscus is the piece of cartilage that cushions and protects the bones in your knee joint. It’s naturally durable, but an abrupt twist of the knee can tear it. The type of treatment you need depends on the location and severity of the tear.
The outside edges of your meniscus get more blood supply than the inside. That means those areas naturally heal faster, and smaller tears may not require surgery.
However, if you have a severe meniscus tear, it likely won’t heal on its own. Dr. Rovner performs arthroscopy for meniscus tears because it’s a safe, minimally invasive method to repair the damage and restore knee function.
Arthroscopic surgery utilizes a small, high-definition camera and specialized surgical tools to close meniscus tears and remove damaged pieces of cartilage from your joint. Since your meniscus can’t heal properly on its own, surgery supports your body’s natural recovery process.
Arthroscopy is minimally invasive, so it lowers your risk of infection, blood loss, and other complications. Recovery is often quicker compared to traditional open surgery, and incisions are very small, so scarring is less noticeable.
What to expect during arthroscopy for your meniscus tear
If Dr. Rovner recommends arthroscopy to treat your meniscus tear, our team gives you detailed instructions about how to prepare for surgery. Meniscus repair is considered a low-risk procedure, but it’s important to follow our instructions closely.
On the day of surgery, we administer anesthesia to keep you comfortable. Then, Dr. Rovner makes small incisions around your knee and inserts the arthroscopic camera to look at your joint from the inside.
He guides surgical tools through the incisions and begins the repair. Depending on your injury, he either repairs your meniscus by stitching it together, removes damaged cartilage, or a combination of both. Then, he closes your incisions, and you’re moved into a recovery room.
Your recovery generally includes a period of rest, followed by physical therapy to rebuild your strength. Most people report significant improvement in their pain shortly after meniscus surgery, and you can expect to return to most of your normal activities within a few weeks.
When your knee injury necessitates surgery, arthroscopy could be a good option. If you have a meniscus tear, find out more about treating it with arthroscopy during a consultation with our experts at New York Spine and Sports Surgery. Call the office nearest you or send us a message online today.