Meniscus Transplantation is a type of surgery done when there is a severe meniscus deficiency in order to restore function to a damaged knee. The meniscus is a wedge shaped cushion of cartilage, of which there are two in each knee joint. While the term “meniscus” is used most commonly to refer to the cartilage in the knee, humans also have a meniscus type cartilage in several other joints. Inside the knee, this connective tissue works to distribute body weight and reduce friction during normal movement.
Steven W. Meier, MD is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and world-renowned expert in meniscus transplantation. Please contact Meier Orthopedic Sports and Regenerative Medicine today to get answers to any of your joint preservation questions or to schedule a consultation! Our office number is 310.736.2793.
Meniscus Injury Symptoms
In the knee, the meniscus works to distribute force between the femur and tibia in order to reduce the pressure on the articular cartilage (cartilage at the ends of the long bones of the joints). A meniscus tear in the knee can commonly occur as a result of twisting or turning the leg while the foot remains planted. They also may happen while patients are lifting heavy objects or playing sports, if the weight is improperly distributed over the knee joints. The meniscus can also begin to wear down over time during the normal aging process, causing it to tear more easily.
Common symptoms of a meniscus tear include:
- Pain in the knee near the joint line
- Catching or locking of the joint
- Feeling of joint instability
Meniscus tears are typically diagnosed through a combination of physical examination by a doctor and MRI imaging.
Recommended treatment for a meniscus tear depends upon a number of factors such as age, level of activity, and severity of injury. In some cases, non-surgical treatments such as rest and physical therapy may by sufficient. However, in the cases where a person has already undergone a surgery to remove large parts of the this type of cartilage, or when there are larger, more severe tears and the remaining tissue is no longer functional, meniscus transplantation surgery may be considered as a definitive treatment option.
Meniscus transplantation surgery usually includes an arthroscopy of the knee in order to visualize all of the structures and what conditions they are in at the time of surgery. During the surgery, a small camera is inserted into the knee in order to directly view any structural issues that may be causing pain and dysfunction. If the transplantation is then to take place, the surgeon will first remove any remaining tissue left from the old cartilage. A cut is then made in the front of the knee, and the tibia prepared to receive the new tissue. The new meniscus is then inserted and secured by screws or other devices for stabilization during healing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What do I need to know about recovery from meniscus surgery and rehabilitation for meniscus transplantation?
A: Patients who have meniscus transplantation will have to wear a brace and use crutches for several weeks following the procedure. They will also need to pursue a rigorous course of physical therapy to restore strength and range of motion to the knee and surrounding musculature. Patients do not typically return to work in the first two weeks after knee cartilage surgery, and are encouraged to take time off to heal and rehabilitate properly. Be sure to talk with your doctor about a specific rehabilitation timeline for your surgery.
Q: What are the risks of meniscus transplantation?
A: The risk of complications from meniscus transplantation may include stiffness, incomplete healing, and the need for revision. Bleeding, infection, nerve injury, and blood vessel injury are also possible, as is the risk of infection from the donor tissue used, although modern tissue sterilization techniques make this possibility smaller now than ever before.
Q: Who is a good candidate for meniscus transplantation surgery?
A: Good candidates for meniscus transplantation are usually those patients who do not already have arthritis in the knee. If the articular cartilage has already worn away, surgery to replace this cartilage cushion will probably not help much. The main criteria for a good meniscus transplantation candidate include age younger than 55 years old, physically active, physically fit, little or no knee arthritis, and those who have chronic activity-related pain on account of a deficient meniscus.
More general information about meniscus transplantation surgery can be found at wikipedia.org.
Contact a Beverly Hills Orthopedic Surgeon
Steven W. Meier, MD is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with expertise in joint preservation and meniscus transplantation. If you have questions or want to schedule a consultation with Dr. Meier, contact Meier Orthopedic Sports and Regenerative Medicine today. Our number is 310.736.2793. We look forward to hearing from you!
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