What are the treatment options for a torn meniscus video transcription:

How are meniscus tears treated? Well, first you have to decide, is it symptomatic, right? So many people get sent to my office with an MRI scan that shows meniscus tear saying, “I need to do surgery with you. We heard you’re the best, and my doctor says you need to fix this.” But then after talking to them, you realize their meniscus tear isn’t symptomatic. A meniscus can tear but if doesn’t displace and get caught in the joint, it may not cause symptoms.

So what are those symptoms? Buckling, giving way, locking, it can get stuck and you can’t even put weight on it. And those, if it happens frequently, they are often a reason to do surgery. But then you can also get swelling. You can get intermittent pain if it catches, and if doesn’t do it that often, you can try non-operative treatment and see if it gets better. Physical therapy, maybe an injection, we now have stem cell injection that some people are trying to see if it’ll help, and then if it doesn’t, then you can go onto surgery.

So, if somebody needs surgery, we do this through an arthroscopy, and it’s a same-day procedure. It takes, you know, anywhere from 10 minutes to a little less than an hour, depending on the kind of surgery done and it’s something that can be well recovered in a few months. The kinds of meniscus tears depend on what you see when you get in there. If the tear is in an area that has a good blood supply, then you can actually sew that piece together and get it to heal back. If it’s in an area that doesn’t have a good blood supply, it’s not gonna heal if you sew it back. So you have to remove that piece so that it’s not irritating the knee, causing the symptoms.

It is better to be able to repair it if possible, because the meniscus helps share the load, and it distributes the force over a greater amount of area so that the body can handle it. The more meniscus that’s removed, the more force each area of the knee is going to see and it can become arthritic. The piece, if it’s not repairable and it’s not attached, is not actually doing its job. So whether you take that piece out or don’t take the piece out, your body is still gonna see increased force. What you want to do is get rid of the symptoms that it’s causing, like buckling or locking. When we do the arthroscopy it’s really important to then decide right there whether or not you’re going to repair it or not. But either way, most patients get back completely to their normal lives and are very happy a few months after surgery, and glad that they did the procedure.

Watch Dr. Ron Noy explain the unique stitching technique for meniscus surgery he developed.