Torn Meniscus

  • Medical Author:
    Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM

    Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

What is the prognosis of a torn meniscus? Is it possible to prevent a torn meniscus?

Most patients have their goals met by conservative or surgical treatment, meaning that they are able to return to a normal level of function. This even includes both elite and recreational athletes who are able to return and compete in their sports.

Complications may occur during surgery. For meniscectomy, where the damaged cartilage is surgically removed, the rate of complication is less than 2%. This includes anesthetic complications, infection, and failure to prevent long-term stiffness, swelling, and recurrent pain. For meniscus repair, complications occur in up to one-third of patients.

Cartilage cannot be repaired to as good as new once it is damaged. For that reason, prevention may actually be the best treatment for a torn meniscus. A lifelong commitment to maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding injury will decrease the stress placed on the cartilage of the knee during daily activities. Keeping muscles strong and flexible will also help protect joints. For the knee, this includes not only the quadriceps and hamstring muscles but also those in the core and back.

Reviewed on 4/19/2016

Dutton, M. Dutton's Orthopedic Examination, Evaluation and Intervention, 3rd edition. McGraw Hill Medical, 2012.

Johnson, D.H., and D.A. Pedowitz. Practical Orthopedic Sports Medicine and Arthroscopy. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2007.








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