Meniscus tear is a common knee injury. Any cutting or pivoting activities that twist your knee may lead to a meniscus tear. One may get meniscus tears while playing any outdoor game. A torn meniscus causes swelling, sharp pain, and stiffness. Also, one can feel trouble in knee motion and extend it.
But what is meniscus? A meniscus is a c-shaped or donut-shaped cartilage inside the knee. The cartilage is in between the thighbone and shinbone. It works as a shock absorbent of the knee. Each knee contains two menisci. These two menisci are medial and lateral meniscus. The medial meniscus is situated on the inner side of the knee joint. On the other hand, the lateral meniscus is outside the knee.
A meniscus tear happens by knee twisting. The injury can be contact or non-contact. Sports such as football, volleyball, and soccer can cause non-contact meniscus tears. It is because the player changes the knee direction suddenly and the cartilage tears. Kneeling, deep squatting, or heavy weight lifting can also cause the meniscus tear.
The degenerative changes in older adults can cause the meniscus tear. The tissues are worn out when people age and are prone to tears. Approximately 12-14% of people over 60 years of age have meniscus tears.
There are types of meniscus tears. Not every meniscus tear has symptoms. However, generally one will feel pain within 24 hours of a torn meniscus. One may feel the following symptoms:
Board-certified and skilled orthopedic surgeons with knowledge in sports medicine provide treatment at JCI or NABH-accredited hospitals. CureIndia assists you in getting an appointment with the best orthopedic surgeon so that you will get a successful meniscus surgery.
He is one of the best orthopedic and spine surgeons in India. Dr. Manoj Miglani performs all types of complex knee, spine, and shoulder joint surgeries, arthroplasties, and Hip replacement surgeries.
Dr. Nitiraj Oberoi, with his experience of almost three decades, provides treatments and surgeries with excellence. He is internationally trained and specialized in ACL reconstruction, joint mobilization, hip replacement, etc.
Dr. Debashish Chanda is well-versed in computer navigation-assisted and robotic-assisted knee and hip replacement surgeries. With his rich experience of over 14 years, he has done thousands of orthopedic surgeries successfully.
With his expertise in arthroscopy and joint replacement surgery, Dr. Lalit Bafna has expert hands in meniscus tear surgeries. He is skilled in sports medicine and provides surgeries and treatment to international patients.
5 general types of meniscus tears are Radial, intrasubstance, Horizontal, Flap, and Bucket handle meniscus tears.
A radial meniscus tear is a common type of tear. The orientation of this tear is perpendicular to the circumference of the meniscus. This part is avascular and does not contain any blood vessels. That means, without tissues and blood supply this tear cannot heal without any treatment.
Radial meniscus tears need arthroscopic meniscus surgery as a treatment. Untreated radial tears for a long time will get worse over time. Seek advice from a certified orthopedic consultant or surgeon.
Intrasubstance meniscus tears are known as degenerative meniscus tears. An intrasubstance meniscus tear or incomplete tear is an early degenerative change in the meniscus. These changes are generally asymptomatic.
Intrasubstance meniscus tear does not require surgery. However, without proper treatment, the intrasubstance meniscus tear will get worse.
The horizontal tear is parallel to the meniscus surface. It may occur from a blister in the inner portion of the meniscus. The tear can split through meniscus surfaces and divide a meniscus into two halves. It looks like an open mouth of fish with upper and lower jaws.
This type of tear results in swelling and stiffness. However, the tears may not show symptoms in the state of inactivity. Many athletes continue playing after getting horizontal meniscus tears. A horizontal meniscus tear may require surgeries like total knee replacement.
A flap meniscus tear is sometimes also known as a parrot beak tear. In this type of meniscus tear, the cartilage is peeled and stuck in the joint. The tear sometimes shows symptoms of catching or locking because it can flip in and out of position. Untreated flap meniscus tears can develop long-term knee problems like arthritis.
In the bucket handle meniscus tear, the tear occurs in the central zone of the meniscus. This tear persists in knee movement because of the torn meniscus that blocks the knee motion. Bucket-handle meniscus tears require urgent medical action. The treatment helps the knee to bend back.
The MRI and other diagnosis procedures describe the location of the tear. The types are as follows.
This type of tear happens near posterior horns. It is associated with the ACL or anterior cruciate ligament.
These types of tears are located in the front or at the anterior horn. This type of tear does not happen usually.
These kinds of tears occur in the center of the meniscus where there is no blood supply. Hence, central meniscus tears are not responsive to treatment.
Peripheral tears can be repaired by the surgeon. This type of meniscus tear is situated in the peripheral area of the meniscus.
The orthopedic surgeons at CureIndia, first do clinical tests and physical examinations to know the patient’s meniscus tear conditions. After that, they usually ask for X-rays and MRIs to know the positions better. The imaging technique X-ray may not show the tear sometimes. However, an MRI gives 70-90% accurate results for the worst type of meniscus tear.
There are 3 grades classified based on MRI scans. Grade 1 and Grade 2 meniscus tears may not be considered for the meniscus surgery. Whereas, Grade 3 tears are always recommended for surgery and rehabilitation.
Your doctor may ask about your medical history before starting treatment. You should explain whether you are facing recurrent swelling or if you have a history of a bad injury. Sometimes, people may have ACL injury (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) and meniscus tear. In that case, knee arthroscopy helps heal meniscus tear and arthroscopic ACL reconstruction.
Grade 1 and Grade 2 meniscus tears may not require meniscus tear surgery. An orthopedic surgeon will diagnose the tear and advise you of necessary lifestyle changes. The non-surgical treatment includes physical therapy and nonsteroidal medications. Physical therapy helps build muscle strength around the knee joint. The nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs help relieve the pain associated with the meniscus tear.
A Grade 3 torn meniscus requires torn meniscus surgery to repair meniscus tears. There are mainly two types of surgeries done by the orthopedic surgeons in India. These two types of meniscus tear surgeries are 1. Arthroscopic Meniscus repair, and 2. Meniscectomy.
The surgery is done with the help of an arthroscope. In torn meniscus arthroscopy, 2 to 3 keyholes are made around the knee to insert the instruments. The meniscus tears are repaired with these instruments inserted through the holes. Arthroscopic meniscus repair takes less than an hour. Patients can leave the hospital on the same day. Important to note, that the surgery is usually done for less complex tears or tears in the periphery zone of the meniscus.
Meniscectomy can be done in two ways either partially or totally. A partial meniscectomy is done to treat old or complex tears. The main aim of partial meniscectomy is to remove a small piece of torn meniscus so that the knee can function normally. The total meniscectomy involves full removal of the meniscus when there is a large tear and no chance of healing.
Meniscus tear surgery, whether it is a meniscectomy or a meniscus repair, the healing time is typically 2-6 weeks. However, the healing time varies depending on the patient's health conditions. A meniscectomy heals faster than a meniscus repair surgery. The healing period also depended on the following factors.
Patient age is a factor for recovery. Younger people with strength may recover sooner than aged people with bone loss.
Heavier weight may interrupt your recovery time and make it longer than usual.
3. Type of Surgery
The meniscal repair takes more time to heal compared with it meniscectomy. If anyone had sutures to heal meniscus tears, then it may take more time to heal than partial meniscectomy.
People with arthritis or diabetes or having both illnesses may face difficulties in recovery. In those cases, the orthopedic surgeon may suggest some nutrition supplements and certain medications to feel relieved.
With good health, one will start healing within 24-48 hours after a meniscus surgery. Must discuss your concerns and follow your doctor's advice carefully for long-term healthy results.