Knee meniscus repair surgery – patient guide

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At Practice Plus Group we offer fast access to high quality knee meniscus repair surgery via self-pay, insured and NHS routes.

If you have experienced a meniscus tear, you know how painful and limiting it can be for your mobility. Meniscus tears are a relatively common injury that typically occur while playing sport or other physical activities. When people talk about torn cartilage in the knee, they are usually referring to a torn meniscus.

If you are considering knee meniscus repair surgery, it’s likely you’ll have a lot of questions about what to expect from the procedure. Our meniscus repair guide provides you with all the information you need to make an informed decision.

What is a knee meniscus tear?

The meniscus is a layer of cartilage that acts as a shock absorber between the thigh and shin bone. It’s made up of two components: the medial and the lateral.

A meniscus tear can occur when the knee is twisted or subjected to a direct blow. When this cartilage tears, it can cause pain, swelling, stiffness and instability in the knee joint. If the tear is severe or doesn’t heal on its own, meniscal repair surgery may be necessary.

What does the meniscus do in the knee?

The meniscus in the knee joint provides stability and helps to distribute weight evenly across the leg. It also acts as a shock absorber, reducing the impact of physical activities on the knee joint. When the meniscus is torn, it can cause pain, swelling, and inflammation in the knee joint.

Signs of meniscal tear in the knee

The symptoms of a meniscus tear in the knee can vary depending on the severity of the injury. Common signs of a meniscal tear include:

  • reduced range of knee motion
  • feeling of knee weakness or instability
  • a popping or clicking sound when moving the knee
  • catching or locking of your knee
  • pain or discomfort in the knee
  • knee swelling or stiffness
  • difficulty straightening or bending the knee.

It is important to seek medical attention if you suspect a meniscal tear. Leaving it untreated can lead to further damage and increase the risk of developing arthritis.

Treatment for a meniscal knee tear

The recommended treatment options will depend on a number of factors. This include:

  • your age
  • general activity levels
  • your symptoms
  • location and severity of the injury.

Meniscus knee surgery

The type of knee surgery you need depends on the extent of damage to your meniscus. During surgery, your meniscus might be repaired or completely removed. Recovery time varies depending on the type of surgery. However, most patients can expect to return to everyday activities after a few weeks.

Keyhole surgery for knee meniscus tear

Keyhole surgery (also known as knee arthroscopy) for knee meniscus tear is a minimally invasive procedure that is used to repair or remove the damaged meniscus. This procedure involves making small incisions in the knee to access the joint.

Keyhole surgery for knee meniscus tear is the only method currently in use.

When to have meniscal repair surgery

If conservative treatment methods (such as rest and use of painkillers) have failed to relieve your symptoms, your doctor may recommend meniscal repair surgery.

It’s important to discuss the risks and benefits of surgery with your doctor. You can then both make an informed decision based on your circumstances.

Risks and benefits of surgery

Like any surgery, meniscal repair surgery comes with risks. These include the following:

  • infection
  • bleeding
  • nerve damage.

With that said, the benefits of surgery can include relief from pain and improved function of the knee joint. These can have a huge impact on your general wellbeing and quality of life. It is important to discuss the risks and benefits of surgery with your consultant before making a decision.

Meniscus surgery costs

The cost of meniscus surgery varies depending on several factors. These include:

  • the severity of the tear
  • the type of surgery needed
  • the location of the hospital providing your treatment.

On average, in the UK, private meniscus knee surgery costs around £4,000. For insured patients, it’s important to check with your health insurance provider to see if the procedure is covered under your policy.

Knee meniscus surgery recovery

Recovery from knee meniscus surgery can vary depending on the severity of the tear and the type of procedure performed. In general, patients can expect to be on crutches for a few days and may need to wear knee support for several weeks. In the event the meniscus has been surgically repaired, the knee support may need to be worn for up to six weeks. Physical therapy is also an important part of recovery. It helps to improve strength and flexibility of the knee joint.

Meniscus surgery recovery time

The recovery time for meniscus surgery can vary depending on the type of surgery you have and the severity of your injured knee. Generally, it takes about 4-6 weeks to be able to walk without crutches. You should expect to be able to return to sport between three and six months after your operation, however, this will vary from patient-to-patient.

Knee support after meniscus surgery

After meniscus surgery, you’ll likely need some type of knee support. This might come in the form of a compression sleeve or a brace. Your doctor will be able to recommend the best type of support for your specific needs.

How to strengthen your knee after meniscus surgery

To promote healing, speed up your recovery, and prevent future injury, it’s crucial to strengthen your knee before and after meniscus surgery. Your doctor may recommend physical therapy or exercises you can do at home to help strengthen your knee.

Why choose Practice Plus Group?

At Practice Plus Group Hospitals, we’re passionate about giving patients a positive experience and excellent clinical outcomes, with personalised care every step of the way. Whether you’re paying for yourself or using private medical insurance, with our short knee replacement waiting times, unrivalled Care Quality Commission (CQC) ratings and high levels of cleanliness and infection control, we’ll make sure you’re looked after. In fact, we were the first provider to have all services rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ by the CQC.

Meniscal surgery FAQs

Not quite found the information you’re looking for? Our dedicated FAQs aim to answer some of the most common meniscus surgery questions, from how painful it is to whether a meniscus injury can lead to knee replacement surgery.

Meniscus tears can be quite painful. The level of pain varies depending on the severity of the tear. In some cases, a meniscus tear may be accompanied by swelling, stiffness, and difficulty moving the knee.

Exercises that help strengthen the muscles around the knee can help alleviate meniscus knee pain. Ask your doctor about specific exercises you can do to help with your recovery

While meniscus surgery is considered a relatively minor procedure, it carries the same risks as any other surgical procedure. Your doctor will be able to provide more information about the specific risks and benefits of meniscus surgery.

This depends entirely on the extent of the damage to your cartilage. In some cases, a partial meniscectomy (removal) may be the best option, while in others, repair may be necessary.

Ignoring a torn meniscus can lead to further damage and pain. The meniscus is a crucial part of your knee joint. Without it, you run the risk of developing arthritis in the affected knee along with other serious problems.

Meniscus surgery can be a great option for those who have specific meniscus injury-related symptoms like instability. The surgery is relatively simple and has a high success rate. However, it’s important to note that surgery is not the best option for everyone. Your consultant will evaluate your injury and recommend the best course of action.

No. Knee replacement is a much more complex surgery and is typically only recommended when other treatments have failed. Meniscus surgery, on the other hand, is a quick and relatively simple procedure that can help you get back to your normal routine.

Preparing for meniscus surgery involves a few simple steps. In the weeks before your surgery, you should target strengthening your quads and hamstrings. This is because following surgery you will experience rapid muscle loss. On the day of your surgery, you will need to fast before the procedure and stop taking certain medications. You’ll also want to arrange for someone to drive you home after the surgery. Your doctor will give you specific and general instructions to follow as you prepare for surgery.

Meniscus surgery is typically performed under general anaesthesia. This means that you will be asleep during the procedure.

Meniscal repair surgery usually takes between 30 minutes and an hour. The exact time will depend on the extent of the injury and the type of surgery being performed.

Like any surgery, meniscus surgery comes with risks. Some common side effects include pain, swelling, and stiffness in your affected knee. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to manage these side effects.

The fastest way to recover from meniscus surgery is to follow your doctor’s instructions. This may include physical therapy, rest and analgesia. It’s important to take it easy for the first few weeks after surgery to allow your knee the time it needs to heal properly.

You should avoid icing your knee after meniscus surgery. This is because the wound will be dressed so, while ice is helpful, you need to avoid getting the wound and dressing wet.

You may be able to walk with the assistance of crutches or a knee brace immediately after surgery. With that said, it is crucial to follow your doctor’s instructions. It’s common to experience some pain and discomfort when walking, but this should improve as your recovery progresses. Depending on the type of procedure you received, you may be asked to avoid fully bearing weight on the affected knee for up to six weeks.

You may be able to climb stairs a few days after surgery, but it’s important to be careful and go slowly. You should use handrails for support and take one step at a time. Your doctor may give you specific instructions on when it’s safe to start climbing stairs. Depending on the type of procedure you received, some patients may be unable to walk (and therefore climb stairs) for up to six weeks.

You may need to stay off your knee completely for a few days after surgery. After that, you will likely be encouraged by your doctor to bear some weight and move around. This will be with the assistance of crutches or a knee brace. Your doctor will give you specific instructions based on the extent of your injury and the type of surgery you received. Depending on the type of procedure you received, you may require crutches for up to six weeks. Your physio will be able to advise how to navigate stairs while using your crutches.

In some cases, a knee brace may be recommended after meniscus surgery. This will help support your knee and protect it as it heals. Your doctor will let you know if a brace is necessary and how long you should wear it.

To help you better understand your injury and treatment options, we’ve created an easy-to-remember acronym: PAIN.

P – Problem: Do you have a torn meniscus that’s causing pain and limiting your mobility?
A – Agitate: Ignoring a torn meniscus can lead to long-term consequences like arthritis and chronic pain. It’s important to get it checked out by a doctor and consider treatment options.
I – Interest: Meniscus surgery can be a great option for those who want to get back to their daily routine quickly. The surgery is relatively simple and has a high success rate.
N – Need: To ensure a smooth recovery, it’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions and take it easy for the first few weeks after surgery.

By following our PAIN acronym, you can make an informed decision about your treatment options while taking steps to ensure a smooth recovery. If you’re experiencing knee pain or have a suspected meniscus injury, don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation.

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