A meniscectomy is a type of surgery that’s used to treat a damaged meniscus.

A meniscus is a cartilage that helps the knee work properly. 

There are two menisci: 

lateral meniscus, near the outer edge of the  knee joint

medial meniscus, near the edge on the inside of the knee

Menisci help knee joint function by:

distributing your weight over a larger area stabilizing the joint, 

provides lubrication, 

sends brain signals to know where the knee is in space relative to the ground, helps with balance and 

acts as a shock absorber

A total meniscectomy refers to surgical removal of the entire meniscus. 

Partial meniscectomy refers to removal of only the damaged part.

About 66 out of every 100,000 people tear a meniscus per year.

Surgery removes fragments of the meniscus that stick out into the joint, that can interfere with joint movement and cause your knee to lock.

Minor tears can often heal on their own without surgery, but more severe tears often require surgical repair.

Surgery is almost always needed when:

a tear doesn’t heal with conservative treatment, the knee joint goes out of alignment, the knee becomes locked.

Surgery that is required: partial or full meniscectomy.

There are two main approaches used for a meniscectomy:

arthroscopic surgery, usually done using spinal or general anesthesia as an outpatient surgery.

open surgery requires a general or spinal anesthesia and possibly a hospital stay.

Athroscopic surgery is preferred because it causes less muscle and tissue damage and leads to a quicker recovery.

Sometimes the tear pattern, location, or severity makes open surgery necessary.

Arthroscopic surgery

A lighted scope with a camera is inserted through one incision and tools used to perform the procedure are inserted in the others.

For an open meniscectomy:

A large incision is made over the knee so the knee joint is exposed.

The damaged meniscus is removed.

Exercises help the knee regain strength and mobility.



Deep venous thrombosis.

Following a total meniscectomy, one is more prone to developing osteoarthritis of the knee.

A partial meniscectomy has a better long-term outcome than a total meniscectomy, and when possible, partial meniscectomy is the preferred procedure.

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