About Arthroscopy & Meniscus RepairArthroscopic meniscus repair is an outpatient surgical procedure to repair torn knee cartilage. The torn meniscus is repaired by a variety of minimally invasive techniques and requires postoperative protection to allow healing. Physical therapy is useful to regain full function of the knee, which occurs on average 4-5 months after surgery.
During SurgeryAfter the anesthetic is administered and knee examined, a tourniquet is placed on the upper thigh and the thigh is secured to the table in a padded limb holder. The knee and lower leg are cleansed and draped and a diagnostic arthroscopy is performed. A diagnostic arthroscopy is a thorough examination of the inside of the joint with a camera hooked up to viewing screens. The instruments are approximately 5mm in diameter and are inserted through three or four 1cm incisions around the knee. One incision is for sterile saline inflow, used to improve visualization within the joint. A systematic inspection of the knee documents any problems, which can also be addressed. The meniscus tear is identified and probed with a small metal hook. The size, pattern, location, stability, and tissue quality of the meniscus tear are assessed, and the decision made about repair versus removal of the damaged tissue. The opposing edges of the meniscus tear prepared to enhance healing using a small rasp or motorized shaver. If the blood supply to the tear is questionable, several techniques can be used to improve healing including; placing a blood clot in between the two parts of the tear, creating small vascular access channels in the peripheral rim of the meniscus, or making the joint lining bleed. The meniscus is then secured back in place with one or more of a variety of devices including; suture, an absorbable tack, or a meniscus repair device. Sutures require additional small incisions to tie down.
AnestheticArthroscopic meniscus repair can be safely performed under general or spinal anesthetic. In addition, local anesthetic is injected into the knee and incision sites. The patient is encouraged to discuss preferences with the anesthesiologist prior to surgery.
Length of arthroscopic meniscus repairArthroscopic meniscus repair generally takes between an hour and an hour and a half. Depending on how much other surgery is necessary to take care of other problems in the knee, the time may be a bit more or less.
Typically, you can go home the day of your surgery.