Meniscus Repair

What is meniscus repair?

A meniscus repair is a minimally invasive surgical technique that is often performed arthroscopically. It involves bringing the torn end of the meniscus together and then stitching them back in place to restore the patient’s natural meniscus contour, shape and function. This allows for maximal preservation of a patient’s healthy meniscal tissue and minimizes long term damage to the cartilage of the knee. It is most often indicated for patients with an acute traumatic meniscus tear.  

What factors determine if a meniscal repair will be successful?

Patient factors such as age, general health, BMI, and willingness to comply with a postoperative rehabilitation regimen all have an impact on surgical success. More recent evidence suggests that patients up to their 50s and patients with a BMI below 35 can successfully undergo meniscal repair. The location of the meniscal tear also is an important factor to consider. Repairs tend to heal well when the tear occurs in the peripheral regions of the meniscus (zones 1 and 2). This is due to the higher blood supply, and thus, healing potential, of the peripheral meniscus. It has been thought that tears in the central regions of the meniscus do poorly with meniscal repair due to their limited healing ability. While this is true, there is evidence to suggest that meniscal repair can be successful in the more central meniscal regions with less healing potential (zone 3). (Click here for a closer look at meniscal anatomy)  

What is involved in a meniscal repair?

The procedure is a minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery that uses small incisions to insert an arthroscope (camera) and arthroscopic tools into a patient’s knee joint. Several techniques are used to bring the meniscal ends together to achieve the repair that best restores a patient’s native meniscus structure and function.  

What is the post-operative rehabilitation like for meniscal repair?

Like all orthopaedic procedures, commitment to a structured post-operative rehabilitation regimen is critical for a satisfactory patient outcome. The rehabilitation protocol for meniscal repair is much more conservative to maximize stability of the repair and minimize damage to the sutured meniscal edges. Failure to adhere to this protocol could result in failure of the repair. Rehab protocols will vary from surgeon to surgeon. Click here to see examples of MERCuRE member Rehab Protocols.