5 Steps to a Successful Meniscus Surgery

  • doctor-holding-up-model-of-knee
    Preparing for Meniscus Repair Surgery or Meniscus Removal
    A torn meniscus sometimes needs surgery to fix the problem. The surgeon may be able to perform meniscus repair surgery. Other times, the surgeon will remove the damaged cartilage. Meniscus surgery can help relieve pain and restore knee function. It’s usually arthroscopic, which involves smaller incisions and a faster recovery than open surgery. Even if you are a good candidate for meniscus surgery, the thought of undergoing the procedure might be overwhelming. Knowing the steps for preparing for meniscus surgery can help make your surgery a success.

  • Patient and surgeons
    1. Choose your surgeon with care.
    An orthopedic surgeon is the specialist who does meniscus surgery. Though the procedure is common, you want to choose a doctor with the right expertise and experience. Get references from other doctors and ask friends and family, too. Look for surgeons who are board certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery. Learn more by reading Finding the Right Doctor for Meniscus Surgery.

  • Doctor Examining Male Patient With Knee Pain
    2. Get the correct diagnosis.
    There are different types of meniscus surgery, depending on the nature of the tear. And, in some cases, surgery isn’t necessary because the meniscus will heal on its own. To find the best treatment for you, you need the right diagnosis. This process usually starts with a physical examination by your doctor. After that, you might need X-rays, MRIs, and other imaging tests. They will reveal the exact type of meniscus injury you have. They also will pinpoint its location.

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    3. Ask questions.
    Ask your surgeon to tell you exactly what type of meniscus tear you have. Ask if there are different ways to repair it. Make sure you understand the surgeon's recommendation. Also ask about any preparation steps you should take before the operation. Find out what will happen on the day of the procedure. Ask what the recovery process will be like. It helps to write down your questions before meeting with the surgeon. Write down the surgeon's answers, too, so you don't have to rely on memory.

  • Pharmacist
    4. Prepare for the procedure.
    Before your surgery, fill your pain pill prescription. Acquire comfortable crutches too, as you may need them right afterwards. It’s also a good idea to make your first physical therapy appointment. Find out when you'll need to stop eating or drinking before surgery. Also find out what type of anesthesia you'll be getting and how long you'll be in the recovery room. You can usually go home a few hours after meniscus surgery. But you'll need someone to drive you home and help you get settled.

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    5. Plan for the best recovery.
    After surgery, your surgeon will probably bandage your knee and put it in a brace to protect it. Most people use crutches for a few weeks to a month afterwards. Get plenty of rest to help your body recover. Also, follow your doctor's instructions for keeping your knee elevated and icing it. Rehab is an important part of regaining the use of your knee. So be sure to see a physical therapist if your surgeon suggests it. Recovery time ranges from about 4 weeks to 3 months.

5 Steps for a Successful Meniscus Repair Surgery

About The Author

  1. Knee Arthroscopy. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00299
  2. Meniscal Tears. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00358
  3. Meniscal Tears. Cleveland Clinic. http://my.clevelandclinic.org/services/orthopaedics-rheumatology/diseases-conditions/meniscal-tears
  4. Orthopedic Surgeons: Who Are They and What Do They Do? American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://www7.aaos.org/member/directory/definition.htm
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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 Nov 8
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