cartilage repair

What is the Meniscus?

The meniscus is a small semicircular or “C” shaped disc of cartilage.  Each knee joint has two menisci (inner or medial and the outer or lateral).  These cartilages are different from the articular cartilage covering joint surfaces.  They are able to move slightly with knee joint activity and help in distributing pressure within the knee, provide a degree of stability and assist in coordination of movements.

They are tough fibrous structures but can be torn with significant twisting injury followed by repetitive sequence of small injuries as can occur in a degenerative type tear.  If a torn piece of meniscal tissue becomes unstable, it can interfere with the moving joint causing pain, locking and swelling.

meniscus

Repair

If the meniscal repair is not causing significant problems your knee may respond to painkillers, anti-inflammatory medications and physiotherapy.

However, if you do experience significant symptoms from your tear or non-operative treatments fail, you may be a candidate for arthroscopic surgical treatment.

Meniscal cartilage has a poor blood supply delivered from the outside edges.  Scientists have shown that the outer third (also called the red zone) has the best blood supply and the inner third (called the white zone) has the poorest blood supply and the middle portion (red‑white zone) an intermediate blood supply.  Blood supply or vascularity as it is termed is a very important factor in determining whether healing would occur.  Other factors include the patient’s age, time from the injury and the particular shape of the tear.  We can repair tears using various suturing or stitching techniques and devices.

Some cartilage tears are not repairable and loose, unstable and defunctioned tissue is then excised with special instruments.

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