Meniscal Repair Surgery

Two rubbery c-shaped rings of cartilage called the menisci provide cushioning in your knee joint. They can get torn as a result of wear and tear or in an injury.

A meniscal repair is carried out through small incisions over your knee (arthroscopic surgery), and the edges of the meniscus are sewn together.

Our highly experienced orthopaedic surgeons will recommend a meniscal repair in certain circumstances – particularly if you are under 40 and are highly active or a professional sportsperson.

If you have torn your meniscus or suffer from any knee pain, get in touch with the Capital Orthopaedics team for a thorough diagnosis using the very latest in scanning technology, and the right treatment plan for you.

Why Would I Need Meniscus Repair Surgery?

If you have ongoing pain and instability in your knee as a result of a torn meniscus – even after a programme of physiotherapy, you may be advised to have surgery to repair the meniscus.

As up to 30% of meniscus tears can be repaired, this surgery is only recommended in certain cases, including:

  • Clean tear: the meniscus is made up of lots of tiny fibres. When it is injured, it can tear cleanly, in a straight line – or it can leave a badly frayed edge. If the tear is clean, then the edges can be effectively sutured.
  • Condition: the younger you are, the more likely the meniscus cartilage will tear cleanly and will heal well.
  • Location: tears on the outer edges of the meniscus have a better blood supply, so are more likely to heal well after a meniscus repair.
  • Activity level: if you are highly active or a professional sportsperson, meniscal surgery can provide an effective, long-term solution. Repairing, rather than removing the meniscus reduces the chances of arthritis in the future.

Are There Alternatives to Meniscus Repair Surgery?

Physiotherapy can be used to treat a torn meniscus, depending on the severity, your age and the location of the tear.

A surgical alternative to meniscus repair is a meniscectomy – removing all or part of the meniscus. This is carried out arthroscopically, and has relatively quick recovery time – you should be able to weight bear within 24 hours of the operation and begin rehabilitation almost immediately.

The drawback with a meniscectomy is that, without the full cushioning in your knee joint, the bones of your knee will inevitably begin to rub and jar against each other, potentially leading to osteoarthritis. This risk is 60% over 10 years.


How to Prepare for Meniscus Repair Surgery

On the day of the operation, you must not eat or drink anything after midnight prior to your operation.

Wear loose-fitting trousers, as your knee will be swollen and bandaged after the operation.

What to Expect During Meniscus Repair Surgery

The operation takes approximately one hour.

Your surgeon will make a number of small incisions over your knee and insert a camera in a flexible tube into the joint. Viewing the inside of your knee on a monitor, they will carefully stitch the edges of the meniscus together.


Recovering From Meniscus Repair Surgery

You should be able to return home as soon as you are able to move around on crutches – usually on the same day as surgery.

You will wear a knee brace which is locked in place for four to six weeks to enable the meniscus to heal. During this time, you will not be able to fully weight bear.

In the first week, you will need to elevate your leg as much as possible, ice your knee and take non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen to reduce pain and swelling.

Rehabilitation exercises focus on strengthening the muscles around your knee. After the brace has been removed, you will work on increasing range of motion and improving proprioception (balance).

After 12 weeks, you should be able to progress to low impact activities such as cycling, swimming or cross trainer.

Most people can return to full function and sports after 12-16 weeks.

Book an Appointment with Capital Orthopaedics

Most knee injuries and conditions can be treated with minimal intervention if they are diagnosed soon enough.

If you do require surgery, our respected consultant surgeons provide the most effective and least invasive surgical treatments using pioneering techniques to ensure quick recovery times with a focus on future resilience.

If you have torn a meniscus, or have any other knee problems, contact the Capital Orthopaedics team here to book an appointment at one of our three central London locations.

Other Knee Conditions We Treat

Cartilage Damage: the slippery cartilage that coats the bones in your knee joint can get torn as a result of an impact, a wrenching movement, repetitive actions or wear and tear. It can cause problems with mobility, pain, swelling and can lead to arthritis if left untreated. We treat cartilage damage with physiotherapy, injection therapy and arthroscopic surgery.

ACL Tears: a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament can be caused by a sharp twisting motion, an impact or by a sudden force through a bent knee. It leads to symptoms of pain, swelling and instability. ACL tears can be treated with physiotherapy or keyhole surgery.

Torn Meniscus: the semi-circular rubbery pads in your knee joint provide cushioning. They can get torn as a result of twisting injuries, or an impact on the knee joint. Minor tears can be managed with physical therapy, while more severe tears may be repaired or removed using minimally invasive keyhole surgery.

Knee Fractures: a fracture to any of the bones of the knee can occur as a result of a major impact, or severe wrenching action. Other injuries to soft tissues often occur at the same time, so a careful diagnosis is needed. Some fractures require stabilisation while they heal (usually six weeks), but displaced or shattered bone will require surgery.

Knee Arthritis: the slippery cartilage that coats the bones in your knee joint can wear away as a result of a traumatic injury or wear and tear over time. Exposed bone surfaces in the joint lead to pain, stiffness and swelling. Arthritis can be treated effectively with physiotherapy and injection therapy in the early stages, while more severe cases can be resolved with minimally invasive surgery or replacing damaged bone with prosthetic parts (knee replacement).



Frequently Asked Questions

Book an Appointment with an Orthopaedic Specialist

The Capital Orthopaedics team is made up of highly experienced medical professionals – from Mr Simon Moyes, the renowned orthopaedic consultant surgeon, to physicians, nurses, anaesthetists and physiotherapists.
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