Arthroscopic surgery to repair a freshly damaged meniscus is indicated if the tear has good blood supply. The initial step is to reduce the meniscus back to its proper anatomical location. Once in place, the periphery of the meniscus is prepared to create a fresh bleeding surface, so that once the meniscus is stitched down, it will heal properly. A meniscal repair suture is then inserted into the joint. There are two ends of the suture that act as anchors for the knot. Once both ends are anchored, the suture is tightened and the meniscus is secure in its proper anatomical location. The number of anchors depends on the size of the tear. After sutures are secured and cut, the meniscus is probed to make sure it is stable. Recovery from meniscal repair takes longer than a meniscectomy, but all tissue is restored.
Trimming of a small portion of the meniscus is usually six to eight weeks for full recovery, depending on severity. Repair of the meniscus is usually around four to six months with an initial non-weight bearing period of two to four weeks. There may be recommendations to avoid squatting deeper than 90 degrees or limiting impact activities.
Whether trimmed or repaired, surgery is generally successful in restoring full function and decreasing pain. Your doctor may make specific recommendations on impact activities in the future based on the severity of the tear.