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Knee Arthroscopic Meniscus Surgery Procedure and Rehab

Arthroscopic Meniscectomy Tear

Arthroscopic meniscectomy is an OPD minimally invasive surgical procedure used to treat a torn cartilage in the knee. The cartilage can be torn during sports in the athlete or by twisting movement at the knee while the leg is bent. In the case of older adults, the meniscus can be damaged following prolonged ‘wear and tear’ due to swelling of the knee joint.

Symptoms 

The common signs and symptoms of a torn meniscus are knee joint pain and swelling. This becomes worse when the knee bears more weight while running. Another reason is joint locking when the affected person is unable to straighten the leg fully. This can be accompanied by a clicking feeling. Sometimes, a meniscal tear also causes a sensation that the knee gives way.

Surgery

Arthroscopy is a technique in which joint is operated on using an endoscopic camera. The meniscus can either be repaired or completely removed.  Arthroscopy for meniscal tear repair may include a two to six week recovery time and rare but serious adverse effects that can occur, including blood clots in the legs, surgical site infections, and nerve damage. If the injury to the meniscus is isolated, then the knee joint would be relatively stable. However, if another injury such as an anterior cruciate ligament injury (torn ACL) was coupled with a torn meniscus, then an arthroscopy would be performed.

Meniscus tears that occur near the peripheral rim are able to heal after a meniscal repair. As per Heckman, Barber-Westin & Noyes, it is better to repair the meniscus than rather remove it (meniscectomy). The amount of recovery time required for a repair is longer than a meniscectomy, but removing the meniscus can cause osteoarthritis problems. If the meniscus is removed, the patient will be in rehab for about four to six weeks. If a repair is conducted, then the patient will need four to six months. If physical therapy does not resolve the symptoms, or in cases of a locked knee, then surgical intervention may be required. Depending on the location of the tear, a repair may be possible. In the outer third of the meniscus, an adequate blood supply exists and a repair will likely heal. Usually, younger patients are more resilient and respond well to this treatment, while older, more sedentary patients do not have a favorable outcome after a repair.

Post-Surgical Rehab-

After successful surgery, patients must follow a rehabilitation program to have the best result. The rehabilitation depends on whether the entire meniscus was removed or repaired. If the destroyed part of the meniscus was removed, patients can usually start walking using a crutch a day or two after surgery. Patients may return to their normal activities after 2 or 3 weeks. However, a completely normal walk will commence gradually, and it may take upto 2–3 months. Many meniscectomy patients don’t ever feel a 100% functional recovery, but even years after the procedure they sometimes feel tugging or tension in a part of their knee. There is little medical follow-up after meniscectomy and official medical documentation tends to ignore the imperfections and side-effects of this procedure.

Improving symptoms and preventing further injuries are the main objectives when rehabilitating. By the end of treatment, normal knee activity, a function of muscles and coordination of the body are restored.

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