Torn Meniscus - Surgery To Repair

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Can a meniscus tear heal without surgery?

If the tear is small and located on the outer edge of the meniscus, it is possible that rehabilitation without surgery is all that is needed for recovery. The location of the meniscal injury is also an important consideration. Injuries that occur in parts of the cartilage that have better blood supply have a better chance to heal than those where there is little blood supply.

With other meniscal injuries, if the knee is stable and if the symptoms do not persist and do not limit lifestyle, nonsurgical treatments remain an option. However, the decision to defer surgery depends upon whether the knee joint remains functional and allows the patient to participate in their preferred activities.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: ballet barre, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 17

I tore my meniscus in April when I tripped over a display in a store and slid about 10 feet into a staircase. My doctor tried both cortisone injections and Orthovisc, neither of which did any good. In fact my knee became stiffer. Most people I've spoken to are fine after 6 to 8 weeks. I on the other hand am now on week 7 and have more pain including a constant searing from one incision site to the top of my knee cap (roughly where the 'dimple" is when you contract it), than I had before surgery. I still cannot go down stairs without pain. I go to physiotherapy twice a week and the gym three times a week. I'm 5'3 and 120lbs so, not so out of shape but terribly frustrated. Now my doctor says well this may be "as good as it gets" since the tear was bigger than I thought it was from the MRI. I told him that I'm still having warmth at the incision sites (2 of the 3) which is a little odd after 7 weeks and he just said to keep icing and wait another week. He suggested another cortisone shot but that seems a little counterproductive after I've just had surgery, wasn't that supposed to prevent it!

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Comment from: 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: December 30

I was operated for a bucket handle tear to the medial meniscus at the same time as an attempted repair of a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) 9 months ago. The meniscal tear was partially trimmed and the rest sutured with 2 "inside outside" stiches and 3 Arthrex meniscus darts. Recovery was slow as the stitches and darts had to dissolve over an 8 week period. I was not walking properly for 3 months and had popping in the knee afterwards but no pain from the meniscus. Due to the failed ACL repair I underwent an ACL replacement using a hamstring graft three weeks ago. The meniscus repair was overall found to be successful although a couple of very small tears were removed. It is noticeable how much less pain and swelling there is this time around but I don't know if the first operation pain was due to the meniscus fix or the so called "healing response" treatment of the ACL. I am on one crutch and feel as if I will be walking properly in half the time of the meniscus repair. So sorry, the recovery will be slow, but it's a lot better than dealing with osteoarthritis and possible knee replacement surgery later if your cartilage can be saved! There are times when you think things will never get better but believe me, they will, just tough it out.

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