Surgery or not?
The most common injury to the meniscus is a tear or a complete tear of the meniscus. In addition, however, a Meniskusquetschung occur. In such an injury is usually sufficient for a sports break of about three weeks. In some cases, a relief cut may benefit the healing process.
If there is a meniscal tear, it does not necessarily have to be operated on. For example, conservative therapy may be sufficient in the event of injury to the outside of the meniscus. In this case, the patient is prescribed decongestants, possibly the injured area is also punctured. With a walker, the affected joint can be correspondingly relieved in this form of treatment.
If an operation is necessary, there are different possibilities:
- meniscal repair
- Partial meniscectomy
If there is a meniscal tear near the meniscal base, where the meniscus is attached to the capsule, the tear may be sutured. Because the meniscus is still supplied with blood vessels at this point, the suture can heal. However, because of the lack of blood vessels, suturing of a meniscal tear at other sites on the meniscus is impractical. If a meniscus suture is possible, this is always the preferred method of operation, since the meniscus can be completely preserved.
Partial removal of the meniscus
If a meniscal tear is required, knee arthroscopy is the method of choice. This operation is also referred to as a keyhole operation, as large wounds are avoided. Knee arthroscopy is usually performed on an outpatient basis - the patient can often leave the hospital within a few hours. An open surgery is usually performed only when there is a ligament injury at the same time.
If there is a major meniscal rupture and a meniscal suture is not possible, a portion of the meniscus must be removed. The surgery removes the torn meniscus parts that result in joint function failure or joint surface damage. However, it is always trying to get as much meniscal tissue.
Complete removal of the meniscus (meniscectomy)
In some cases, complete removal of the meniscus is inevitable. This form of treatment was formerly used much more frequently than it is today, because at that time one was not yet aware of the important function of the meniscus.
If a meniscus has to be completely removed today, a meniscal transplantation or the insertion of an artificial meniscal replacement usually ensues. This is intended to prevent the premature development of osteoarthritis of the knee joint. Such an operation is usually followed by a post-treatment of several months.
After meniscus surgery
After a partial removal of the meniscus, depending on the severity of the injury, the affected knee can usually be recharged after a few days at the latest. In some cases, a load on the knee is possible again on the day of the operation. In addition, physiotherapy exercises can be performed shortly after the operation in order to strengthen the muscles around the knee joint.
The physiotherapist should create an individualized exercise plan for the patient to work with in the long term on the mobility of the knee. Sport should be avoided after the operation for about six weeks. Only little knee-loading sports such as swimming can be resumed earlier.
If the meniscus is sewn, the healing process is usually much more protracted. For example, the affected leg may only be partially loaded in the first 14 days, but in some cases this period may be extended to up to six weeks. It can take up to six months before sports can be resumed.
Prevent meniscus injuries
The best way to prevent a meniscus injury is to refrain from sports such as football, tennis or skiing. For sports enthusiasts, this waiver is probably not a satisfactory solution dar. However, who already has a meniscal surgery behind him, should pay attention to injury-prone sports to avoid.
In order to prevent damage to the meniscus, specific stabilization and balance exercises as well as muscle-building training are recommended. Overweight people should also try to lose weight because too much weight presses on the knees and promotes faster menisci wear.