Saying that we rely a good deal on our knees is a bit of an understatement. Day in, day out, our knees support our bodies and get us where we need to go, whether it’s down the street or jumping in the air.
Given their importance, when a problem like a meniscus tear develops, you want the fastest and most effective road back to healthy knees, and there are times when surgical repair is that road. To give you an idea, approximately 850,000 people in the United States tear a meniscus each year and about 10%-20% of these people opt for surgery.
To better illustrate when you might need the expertise of the skilled team of orthopedic surgeons here at Los Angeles Orthopedic Surgery Specialists, we assembled three scenarios in which meniscus repair can be highly beneficial.
If you’re reading this, you likely know a little bit about the tissue we’re discussing, but let’s go over it again quickly. Each of your knees features two wedge-shaped pieces of fibrocartilage that act as spacers between your tibia (shinbone) and your femur (thighbone). This tissue, called a meniscus (the plural is menisci), also transfers the weight in your knee and plays no small role in providing stability.
As we mentioned earlier, up to 20% of people with meniscus tears opt for surgical repair, largely due to one or more of the the following reasons:
We refer to the outer third of your meniscus as the red zone, because it contains the blood vessels the tissue needs to access healing resources. Conversely, the inner two-thirds of your meniscus is devoid of blood vessels, which is why we refer to this area as the white zone.
If you have a minor tear that only involves the red zone, the good news is that that’s every reason to believe that the tissue can heal on its own. If, however, your meniscus tear goes into the white zone, the chances of the tear healing on its own aren’t great. In these cases, surgery can often be the best way to repair the torn tissue.
The symptoms that come with a meniscus tear can be difficult to live with for too long. Of course, these symptoms are perfectly normal during the healing process. But, if your meniscus isn’t healing, you can be left with long-term issues, such as:
With a surgical repair, we can alleviate these symptoms and reestablish pain-free movement in your knee.
Another consideration when deciding on surgical repair is your lifestyle. For example, most acute, trauma-related meniscus tears occur in younger people who play sports. Tears due to natural degeneration processes in the knee occur far more in older people.
Deciding whether to undergo meniscus repair surgery might include these considerations — age and lifestyle. If you’re on the younger side and you lead an active lifestyle, meniscus repair is often a good idea. If, however, you’re 70 years old and mostly sedentary, surgery may not be optimal. Of course, there’s plenty to consider in the middle ground — an active 50-year-old, for example.
When it comes time to decide, we’re with you every step of the way, and we provide you with everything you need to make an informed decision. We also want to point out that we use the latest arthroscopic techniques to repair your meniscus, which means the procedure is minimally invasive.
For expert diagnosis and treatment of your meniscus, call one of our offices around Los Angeles, California. We have offices in Glendale, Wilshire, East LA, Santa Fe Springs, Pico Rivera, Encino, Newhall, Montebello, and Tarzana. You can also schedule an appointment for a consultation online.