The most common knee surgery performed on people over 65 is repair of torn meniscus cartilage. The procedure is costly, at up to $10,000 a patient — and it’s also usually a waste, if not outright harmful.Apr 6, 2018
Surgery may help you reduce the risk of other joint problems, such as osteoarthritis. There are no long-term studies to prove it, but many doctors believe that successful meniscus repair helps to evenly spread the stress placed on the knee joint.
An untreated meniscus tear can result in the frayed edge getting caught in the joint, causing pain and swelling. It can also result in long term knee problems such as arthritis and other soft tissue damage.
It takes longer for a meniscus repair to heal than a meniscectomy. Full recovery from meniscus surgery can take anywhere from six weeks to three months.
Arthroscopic meniscus repair is moderately painful. Because more soft tissue surgery is performed, it is more painful than a standard arthroscopy, but less painful than a ligament reconstruction or another procedure that requires drilling holes through the bone.
A cortisone shot can help decrease the inflammation and pain caused by a torn meniscus. A cortisone shot usually does not help in healing of the meniscus and, hence, does not improve any mechanical symptoms.
Conclusions: In patients with knee osteoarthritis arthroscopic knee surgery with meniscectomy is associated with a three fold increase in the risk for future knee replacement surgery.
A meniscus tear can get worse when left untreated. For example, you might have trouble managing the pain and swelling in your knee, or your knee may continue feeling like it’s catching or locking.
There are a couple of reasons why your knee pain is worse at night: Pain is perceived to be worse at nighttime. As you climb into bed and start to quiet your mind pain becomes more pronounced than when you were active during the day distracted by your activities. An active day may cause your knee joint to swell.
Not all meniscus tears require surgery. That said, very few meniscus tears will heal completely without surgery. 1 It’s important to understand that not all meniscus tears cause symptoms, and even if a meniscus tear occurs, the symptoms may subside without surgery.
Using an elastic bandage, straps, or sleeves to compress can also control swelling. In cases of more severe tears, repair of the meniscus may be necessary. The decision to repair is based on many factors, including the location of the tear and age of the patient.
The most common type of tear to the meniscus is a radial tear. This type of tear occurs in the area of the knee that isn’t supplied with blood, so it cannot heal on its own. Surgery may be required if the tear is severe. In the case of a radial tear, the surgeon will trim away the damaged part of the meniscus.
Depending on the location of the tear will determine where a person might experience symptoms. Anterior knee pain, pain along the inner or outer aspect of the knee, even at times pain in the calf region can all be signs that a meniscus could be compromised.
Knee Swelling after Meniscus Surgery
Swelling is an indicator of inflammation, which is part of the normal healing process after surgeries such as a meniscus repair. It can sometimes persist for a few weeks following meniscal surgery.
If your tear is on the outer one-third of the meniscus, it may heal on its own or be repaired surgically. This is because this area has rich blood supply and blood cells can regenerate meniscus tissue — or help it heal after surgical repair.
Most physicians feel that patients should be well informed about their diagnosis and treatment options. No one should proceed with treatment and especially surgery if they don’t feel completely comfortable. If there are any concerns, it is always ok to get a second opinion before knee or shoulder surgery.
The patient should avoid pivoting and squatting and should work on keeping the quadriceps muscles strong. If the swelling and pain have not resolved in 6 weeks, they usually won’t without surgical intervention.
You will have a physical exam to find out if you have a torn meniscus and to rule out other knee injuries. Your doctor will check both knees for tenderness, range of motion, and knee stability. X-rays are usually done. Based on your symptoms and the physical exam, your doctor may diagnose a meniscus tear.
Knee arthroscopy, a minimally invasive procedure, is often used to treat meniscal tears. During an arthroscopy, a small, lighted, optic tube (arthroscope) is inserted through a small incision in the joint.
A careful physical exam can usually make the diagnosis of a meniscal tear. A suspected meniscal tear does not usually require an MRI, as most will heal with conservative management.
For meniscus partial removal, you can be back to light activity in two weeks and full activity in 6 weeks. How long before i can drive a car? All patients must be off pain medicine before driving. Many patients can return to driving in 2 weeks or less once they feel completely safe operating a vehicle.
In a typical moderate tear, you feel pain at the side or in the center of the knee, depending on where the tear is. Often, you are still able to walk. Swelling usually increases gradually over 2 to 3 days and may make the knee feel stiff and limit bending. There is often sharp pain when twisting or squatting.
A medial meniscal tear can be mistaken for an MCL sprain because the tear causes joint tenderness like the sprain. With a valgus laxity examination, a medial meniscal tear can be differentiated from a grade II or III MCL sprain. The presence of an opening on the joint line means the medial meniscus is torn.
Because a torn meniscus is made of cartilage, it won’t show up on X-rays. But X-rays can help rule out other problems with the knee that cause similar symptoms.
Grades 1 and 2 are not considered serious. They may not even be apparent with an arthroscopic examination. Grade 3 is a true meniscus tear and an arthroscope is close to 100 percent accurate in diagnosing this tear.
Heat (Circulation Boost) should be used when you suffer from a chronic, tight or stiff meniscus injury and after you reduce swelling, pain and inflammation with cold.
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