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What is Medial Meniscus Tear Surgery?

The medial meniscus is a thick, rubbery layer in the knee which acts like a shock absorber. When there is a significant tear in this cartilage, you need to undergo a medial meniscus tear surgery to repair it.

What causes a Medial Meniscus Tear?

During any activity, if there is forceful twist or rotation of the knee, a medial meniscus tear can happen. It is one of the most common injuries among athletes.

Symptoms / when to call your doctor

A meniscus tear causes pain, swelling, difficulty in moving the knee and sometimes, there is a popping sound when the meniscus tears.

Why you should see a doctor?

If you experience symptoms of a medial meniscus tear, you should visit the doctor immediately to understand the extent of knee damage. Ignoring the symptoms may lead to:

  • Severe pain

  • Inability to move the knee

  • Osteoarthritis

How is it diagnosed?

A medial meniscus tear can be diagnosed by a simple physical examination. To understand the extent of damage, the doctor may recommend:

  • X ray

  • MRI scan

  • Arthroscopy- In this procedure, the doctor makes a small cut in the knee. A pencil sized tool is inserted to examine the extent of damage on a screen.

Dietary Restrictions

Having a healthy diet after the surgery is important. It will help the knee to heal faster. Some of the foods that you can include in the diet are:

  • Lean proteins like egg, chicken, fish, lentils

  • Green leafy vegetables

  • Citrus fruits

Treatment for a Medial Meniscus Tear

The treatment for a medial meniscus tear differs based on the size, location and extent of the tear. The tears are graded as 1,2 and 3.

For a Grade 1 or 2 tear, the doctor may recommend:

  • Rest

  • Physiotherapy

  • Pain medication

However, if it is a Grade 3 tear, you will need to undergo surgery.

Types of treatments:

SpecificsArthroscopic Repair/MeniscectomyOpen Surgery
Incision2-3 Small incisionsLarge incision across the knee
Blood LossLessHigh
Recovery time2-3 weeks2-3 weeks
Hospital stay1 day2-3 days
InvasiveNoYes

Arthroscopic Repair

An arthroscopic surgery also called; keyhole surgery is a simple 1-hour surgery to repair the in the knee.

Flow of the procedure:

  • Patient is given local anaesthesia for the procedure

  • Small incisions are made in the knee

  • A tiny camera is inserted into the incision

  • The camera footage is visible on a screen which guides the doctor to perform the surgery

  • The torn meniscus is stitched

  • The incisions are taped and the patient is taken to the recovery room.

Recovery Time and Dietary Advice:

  • 1-day hospital stay with mild pain

  • Resume to normal routine after 2-3 weeks and complete recovery in 6 weeks

  • Using ice pack to relieve swelling and regular exercise to strengthen the knee are advised

  • Having a diet of lean proteins, green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits is important for recovery

Risks involved in the treatment:

There are very less complications through this treatment. Some of the risks may be:

  • Numbness

  • Infection

  • Blood clots

  • Injury to nerves in the knee

  • Pain

Arthroscopic Partial/ Total Meniscectomy

When the meniscus is damaged to the extent that it cannot be stitched together, this procedure is used to repair the knee.

Flow of the procedure:

  • Patient is given local anaesthesia for the procedure

  • Small incisions are made in the knee

  • A tiny camera is inserted into the incision

  • The camera footage is visible on a screen which guides the doctor to perform the surgery

  • The torn meniscus is trimmed (partial meniscectomy) or completely removed (total meniscectomy) based on the extent of damage

  • The incisions are taped and the patient is taken to the recovery room

Recovery Time and Dietary Advice:

  • 1-day hospital stay with mild pain

  • Resume to normal routine after 2-3 weeks and complete recovery in 3 months

  • Using ice pack to relieve swelling and regular exercise to strengthen the knee are advised

  • Having a diet of lean proteins, green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits is important for recovery

Risks involved in the treatment:

There are very less complications through this treatment. Some of the risks may be:

  • Numbness

  • Infection

  • Blood clots

  • Injury to nerves in the knee

  • Pain

Open Surgery

In this procedure, a large incision is made in the knee to repair the cartilage.

Flow of the procedure:

  • Patient is given general anaesthesia for the procedure

  • A large incision is made in the damaged knee

  • The cartilage is repaired/removed partially or completely through the incision

  • The incision is sutured and the patient is taken to the recovery room.

Recovery Time and Dietary Advice:

  • 2- 3 days hospital stay with mild pain

  • Resume to normal routine after 2-3 weeks and complete recovery after 3-6 months

  • Having a diet of lean proteins, green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits is important for recovery

Risks involved in the treatment:

There are very less complications through this treatment. Some of the risks may be:

  • allergic or adverse reaction to anaesthesia or other drugs

  • Bleeding

  • Infection

  • Injury to nerves and blood vessels in and around the knee