Meniscus injury

What is it?

The meniscus is a C-shaped cushion of cartilage in the knee joint that protects the joint surfaces. Meniscus tears are common in older patients and athletes who sustain twisting injuries to the knee. In younger patients we aim to preserve the meniscus by repairing it urgently via arthroscopic (keyhole) surgery. In older patients meniscus tears do not commonly heal and if symptoms persist, the meniscus tear is treated by trimming the torn part with a minor keyhole surgery.

You may need surgery if you have the following symptoms:

  • Pain when exercising or carrying out daily activities
  • Catching or locking of the knee
  • Instability of the knee

Diagnosis and treatment options

Your consultant will take a detailed history of your symptoms, followed by a thorough examination of your knee. You might need some additional tests:

  • X-ray
  • A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan

Meniscus surgery is an arthroscopic (keyhole) procedure. During surgery, your surgeon will make a small incision and insert a miniature camera into your knee joint. This provides a clear view of the inside of the knee and your surgeon will use this as a guide during the procedure. The meniscus will then be assessed and repaired, or the torn part removed as appropriate.

Meniscus surgery is usually minimally invasive surgery and is routinely performed as a daycase procedure.

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