A meniscectomy is a surgery performed for the removal of a torn knee meniscus. This procedure is recommended when the torn meniscus causes pain and other symptoms. With arthroscopy, the Phoenix orthopedic surgeon makes tiny incisions and uses a special camera.
How is the procedure performed?
The Phoenix sports medicine doctor first makes a one centimeter incision near the meniscus tear and inserts a small camera through the joint, which is the size of a pencil. The camera allows the surgeon to see the tear, loose pieces of cartilage, and signs of arthritis. Other small incisions are made so instruments can be inserted to remove the torn cartilage and other body tissues. Instruments used include scissors and small shavers.
What can I expect after the surgery?
The end result of an arthroscopic meniscectomy is that the knee is lined with smooth, stable tissues instead of torn, rough, and unstable edges. The procedure takes around 30 minutes. The bandages must be changed several times during the first 48-72 hours. While the incisions are healing, gauze pads and an Ace bandage are used to protect these wounds from the irritation of clothing.
Does the knee arthroscopic meniscectomy hurt?
The knee arthroscopic procedure is not painful because local, regional, or general anesthesia is used. With local anesthesia, a local sedative is given to keep the patient comfortable, and the knee region is the only area numbed. With regional anesthesia, the patient is numbed from the waist down. General anesthesia allows the patient to sleep during the surgery. After the arthroscopy, you are given pain medication to take if you have any discomfort. The knee must be elevated after the surgery, and ice is used to relieve pain and swelling.
What can I expect after the surgery?
People who have arthroscopic knee surgery for a meniscus tear often are able to return to light activities a few days after the procedure. Depending on the severity of the tear, the health of the patient, and if or not he/she participates in physical therapy, patients can return to recreational activities and sports within 4-8 weeks.
The surgery has a high success rate and low complication rate (less than one percent). You are permitted to shower 48 hours after the procedure if the incisions have stopped draining. However, do not scrub the incisions, and gently pat the incisions dry after showering. You can swim or soak in a tub two weeks after the surgery.
Will I need physical therapy?
Most patients see a physical therapist after the arthroscopic meniscectomy procedure. Therapy involves exercises so the patient can regain motion quickly. The doctor works with the therapist to devise a home program that will improve strength and flexibility of the knee joint.
When can I drive?
Driving is permitted if there is no knee pain. However, you cannot drive if you are taking narcotic analgesics. We recommend taking frequent breaks to stretch the knee if you are driving long distances. Walking during these breaks will decrease the risk of blood clots forming in the leg.
What complications could occur?
With the arthroscopic knee meniscectomy, there is a slight risk for infection, blood clots in the leg (deep vein thrombosis), nerve damage, and bleeding. Call our office if you have:
- Pain that is increasing
- Severe swelling
- Increasing redness around the incisions
- Fever over 101.5 F
- Calf pain or swelling
- Drainage from the wounds
Dr. Adam Farber at Phoenix Shoulder and Knee is an expert sports medicine doctor providing minimally invasive arthroscopic procedures for knee injury. This includes all types of meniscal injuries in need of either shaving or repair. Most insurance is accepted. Call (480) 219-3342 today!