What Happens When a Meniscus Injury Needs Surgery?

After the doctor has exhausted all kinds of treatment, yet you are still in excruciating pain at the knee area, the doctor may suggest that you undergo an MRI test. An MRI test is useful when an injury happens to soft tissues or affects your nervous system, and your meniscus falls into the former category. MRI test is an important step before a decision to do a meniscus surgery is made.

MRI Test for Meniscus Injury

Based on the MRI result, the doctor has about 70 to 90 percent accuracy regarding the extent of your meniscus injury. Intact meniscus is shown black in the MRI imaging. If there is a tear, it appears white. This is how the doctor determines whether your meniscus is indeed injured or not, and how serious generally.

Meniscus injury can be categorised into several grades. Grade 1 and 2 injuries cannot be seen clearly in an MRI image, meaning that the injury is not severe and may have a good chance to heal itself fully with proper rest and therapy. However, if it is Grade 3 and clearly indicated in the MRI image, the doctor might want to investigate further.

Arthroscopic Investigations

This is when the doctor makes use of an instrument called arthroscope. Comes into being from two Greek words ’arthron’ and ‘skopein’ which means ‘joint’ and ‘look at’, the function of the instrument is to look at the injured joint. Arthroscope does this with the help of a small camera and light source at the end of it, and by attaching its cable to a small TV-like screen, the doctor is able to see the injured meniscus up close.

However, to use this instrument, the doctor needs to make small incision on your knee to enable the arthroscope to be inserted into the area where the meniscus is. By using this instrument, the doctor can finally see in real how extensive the damage or tear is to your meniscus, and at the same time, the repair or treatment of your knee can begin. So, this two-in-one technique can save time and avoid inflicting several times of pain at the injured location. It is also less risky and far less invasive than open surgery: https://sgbonedoctor.com/our-services/procedures/meniscus-repair/

Different Types of Surgeries for Meniscus Repair

There are three ways a doctor may do a surgery to your torn meniscus, all possible through the same arthroscopic incision. The doctor will do basic arthroscopic repair if the tear is repairable by stitching. A type of absorbable stitch is used so that the doctor does not need to reopen the incision and remove the stitches later.

The second and third types of surgery is partial and total meniscectomy. As with other treatments requiring ‘-ectomy’ or removal of the affected area, partial meniscectomy means the doctor needs to remove a small portion of your meniscus to give chance for your knee to gain its full function again. While for total meniscectomy, unfortunately the whole of meniscus needs to be removed by the doctor.

In conclusion, the patients who need to undergo meniscus surgery have no cause to worry because it is low risk. Serious complications are almost unheard of, which means it is rare. The common precaution after surgery applies, such as taking care of the incision area to avoid infection and having proper rest.