Arthroscopic Partial Meniscectomy
By Dr Daniel Meyerkort, Knee Surgeon, Perth Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Centre
About Meniscus Tears
Various patterns of meniscal tears occur and in different patient age groups. Typically large tears in younger patients have a good potential to heal and will be repaired (stitched). Older patients with ‘wear and tear’ degenerative tears are very common. The first line of treatment for these tears should be to trial Physiotherapy as this has been shown to have similar benefit to knee arthroscopy ‘clean up’ surgery as first line treatment (Placebo ‘pretend’ surgery studies have confirmed this).
What is arthroscopic partial meniscectomy?
Arthroscopic partial meniscectomy is keyhole ‘clean up’ meniscus tear surgery. The grossly loose and unstable meniscus is gently removed, leaving as much stable meniscus as possible. This surgery in general should not be first line treatment for degenerative meniscus tears. Surgery can be useful as a secondary treatment for patients who have trialled a Physiotherapy program and still have localised tenderness around the meniscus tear. The remaining cartilage in the knee should be close to normal, knee arthroscopy is not an effective treatment if you have established arthritis, even if you have a meniscal tear.
What does arthroscopic partial meniscectomy involve?
The anaesthetist will give you a light general anaesthetic then the arthroscope camera is carefully inserted into your knee to inspect the damage. The torn and grossly loose meniscus is gently removed leaving as much stable meniscus remaining. You can fully weight bear on the knee immediately and start knee motion as pain allows. Physiotherapy starts at week two for knee motion assistance and muscle strengthening. On average most patients take around 4 – 6 weeks to make an 80% recovery, with the remaining recovery occurring slowly as activity levels increase.
How long does it take to recover from arthroscopic partial meniscectomy?
Full weight bearing can commence immediately, with most patients requiring anti inflammatory and paracetamol for the first two weeks. Most patients take around 4 – 6 weeks for pain levels to properly reduce after surgery.
Can I run after partial meniscectomy?
Yes, most patients can run after partial meniscectomy with a low risk of developing arthritis. The exception is for very large meniscal tears that require removal of a very large part of the meniscus.
Why is my knee so tight after knee arthroscopy?
It is common after knee arthroscopy that the knee is swollen and tight for a few weeks. Any surgery is essentially a controlled assault on your body and causes swelling and inflammation while your body is healing. It is normal to have pain and a feeling of tightness during this period.
How much does knee arthroscopy cost for partial meniscectomy?
Dr Meyerkort is a no gap provider for all health funds. This means there is no out of pocket expense for your surgery above what your health fund will pay. An excess may be payable directly to the anaesthetist and hospital.