In each of your knees, there are two pieces of cartilage called the menisci. They do the important job of cushioning and stabilizing the joint. When a piece of this cartilage is torn, either as a result of an acute injury or degeneration over time, it is referred to as a meniscus tear. This common knee condition can cause one to experience pain, swelling and, in more severe cases, a popping/catching sensation in the knee. If you have noticed the symptoms of a meniscus tear, is surgery necessary? The answer will depend on a number of individual factors, including:
- – Activity level
- – Age
- – Health status
- – Location of the meniscus tear (outer or inner edge)
- – The size/severity of the tear
- – The pattern of the tear (horizontal, radial, etc.)
Smaller tears and those on the outer edge of the meniscus may become asymptomatic with only first-line treatment methods. These include icing and resting the knee, avoiding activities that trigger symptoms and using over-the-counter pain relievers. On the other hand, larger, more severe tears, as well as those located on the inner edge of the meniscus (where less blood is supplied to the tissue), are more likely to require surgery to be completely resolved.
Furthermore, more active patients and those who play high-level sports more frequently opt for surgical meniscus repair. This is because it may increase their chances of being able to resume their normal activities as soon as possible. In contrast, less active individuals often find that the tear does not interfere with their everyday activities and so decide against surgery.
Meniscus Tear: Is Surgery Necessary?
Ultimately, the answer to “I have a meniscus tear; is surgery necessary?” will depend on your unique circumstances along with the location and size of the tear. In the event that you and your orthopedic surgeon decide you are a good candidate for surgical meniscus repair, the procedure can be done through either open or arthroscopic knee surgery.
Dr. Soffer is an expert orthopedic surgeon who regularly performs arthroscopic surgery. Given its minimally invasive nature and generally short recovery time, knee arthroscopy is the preferable choice in many cases. This cutting-edge orthopedic procedure involves the insertion of a tiny instrument called an arthroscope into the knee joint. Attached to the arthroscope is a small video camera that projects detailed images of the inside of the knee onto a TV monitor. This allows the orthopedic surgeon to see where pieces of the meniscus need to be removed or repaired.
Dr. Soffer Can Help You Heal from a Torn Meniscus
If you’ve been experiencing signs of a meniscus tear, is surgery necessary? As you’ve learned in this post, there are many factors that play a role in determining whether this treatment option is appropriate. Dr. Stephen Soffer is a board-certified orthopedic doctor with years of experience in diagnosing and treating torn menisci of all sorts. As he has done for many other patients, Dr. Soffer can help you decide whether arthroscopic meniscus repair or another type of treatment is your best option for getting rid of your symptoms.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Soffer, call our office at 610-375-4949. We look forward to helping you resolve your knee discomfort so that you can get back to enjoying the activities you love.