Treating Meniscus Problems

The type of surgery you have depends on the nature of your tear, its size, and location. Your surgeon may use arthroscopy. This method involves putting a tiny camera inside your knee, so that your healthcare provider can clearly see your joint. Arthroscopy requires only small incisions (cuts). You can usually go home the same day as surgery. During surgery, you may have:

  • Local anesthesia. Your healthcare provider numbs your knee with medicine. 

  • A regional block. Your body is numbed from the waist down.

  • General anesthesia. Your healthcare provider gives you drugs to put you into a deep sleep so you do not feel pain.

Pre-op checklist

  • Don't eat or drink 10 hours before surgery.

  • Arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery.

  • Tell your healthcare provider if you take any medicine, supplements, or herbal remedies.




Top view of tibia showing showing peripheral tear in one meniscus.Repair

For certain tears, your surgeon will try to repair the meniscus. He or she will sew the torn edges so they can heal properly. Or your surgeon will use special fasteners to repair damage. In some cases, repairs may require another incision at the back or side of your knee.

Top three-quarter view of tibia showing medial menisci. Medial meniscus has instrument removing tissue.Removal

In most cases, your surgeon will remove the damaged part of your meniscus. The meniscus won't completely grow back, so your surgeon will remove as little tissue as possible. Other tissue, called the articular cartilage, will take over the role as shock absorber for your knee joint.

Lower part of knee joint (tibia) with meniscus repaired.

After surgery

You'll spend some time in the recovery area. You can go home when you've recovered from the anesthesia. Your knee will be bandaged. You may have stitches, steri-strips, or staples. You may need crutches to keep weight off the knee and may have a splint for support.