What Happens During a Lateral Meniscus Repair (Knee Arthroscopy)?

September 15, 2023
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Knee joint injuries are some of the most common injuries out there. The sharp pain and frustration that come along with it can leave a person howling in pain for years on end, especially if left untreated. Whether it’s from a sports accident, a twist of the leg, or just wear and tear due to age, knee problems — specifically a lateral meniscus tear — can be tough to deal with. 

Most cases of a torn meniscus lead to knee arthroscopy, a surgical procedure that repairs the knee joint cushion with as minimal invasion as possible. In this article, you will find everything you need to know about knee arthroscopy for a torn lateral meniscus. 

What is a Lateral Meniscus Repair?

The meniscus is a small, crescent-shaped cartilage that helps absorb sudden movements and shock in the knee joint. This is because, ultimately, the entire purpose of a meniscus is to stabilize the knee, distribute your body weight, and cushion the joint from abrupt movements.

Ultimately, there are two menisci: the lateral meniscus, which is located on the outside of the knee, and the medial meniscus, which is on the inside of the joint. When you twist your knee or fall on the wrong foot, your leg can give out and cause the meniscus to pop. 

A damaged meniscus – usually the lateral meniscus – tends to lead to a lot of pain and swelling, along with limited mobility. The best way to repair it is through a meniscus repair surgery, which is performed via an arthroscopy. 

When Do You Need a Knee Arthroscopy?

The knee joint is a very vulnerable and sensitive spot, which is why it is prone to a variety of injuries. However, in extreme cases, knee damage might require an arthroscopic procedure that could be caused by the following reasons:

  • A torn meniscus
  • A torn or damaged cruciate ligament
  • Torn pieces of articular cartilage
  • Inflamed synovial tissue
  • Misalignment of the patella
  • Baker’s cyst
  • Knee bone fractures

The Process

The process of repairing a lateral meniscus tear is not as complicated as it may appear. Typically, the procedure is over within an hour. The arthroscopic surgery begins with the surgeon inserting the camera inside the knee through careful yet minimal intrusion. Then, once the injury is located, the surgeon will carefully assess the tear, trying to formulate the best site for inserting an anchor stitch. 

When dealing with a displaced posterior horn tear or a bucket handle meniscus tear, the orthopedic surgeon might try to evaluate if the posterior horn is reduced. Once the surgical site is fully scoped, the meniscus anchor is stretched inside, piercing through the tiny lacerations. Then, with utmost care and caution, the surgeon will continue the repair by placing four other anchors on each side until the torn meniscus is stitched back to its original position. 

The tear was caused during a skiing injury, after which the knee was locked and couldn’t straighten. The repair was completed with 4 all-inside suture devices.

Contact Us For More! 

A knee arthroscopy for a lateral meniscus tear is considered to be one of the most beneficial treatment options. To learn more about arthroscopies and meniscus tears, contact Dr. Mufaddal Gombera, MD, at (713) 794-3457 today!

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Dr. Gombera

Dr. Gombera, earned his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine and completed his orthopedic surgery residency at the University of Michigan. Expanding his expertise, he undertook a sports medicine and arthroscopy fellowship at Northwestern University in Chicago. Recognized as a Super Doctors Rising Star and honored for patient care excellence at the University of Michigan, he holds multiple certifications and licenses, solidifying his dedication to delivering exceptional medical services.

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