What is the difference between meniscus repair surgery and surgery that simply removes the meniscus? What are the possible complications from meniscus repair surgery?

The knee meniscus is a shock absorber that helps to protect the cartilage. Very few recommended meniscus surgeries actually are to repair the meniscus. A study reported in the August 2013 journal Orthopedics found that only 4 percent of meniscus surgeries were repairs, while 96 percent cut out the torn portion of the damaged meniscus.

If you are one of the rare patients who actually receives a meniscus repair, how effective is this surgery? A study reported in the May 2011 American Journal of Sports Medicine found that even in young patients who should expect to see the best results, meniscus repair only works about 60 percent of the time.

What are complications when it doesn’t work?

Ultrasound frequently reveals tears in the meniscus despite repair surgery. Stress on the knee then can create gaps in the knee joint and cause the meniscus to move in and out of the joint. Such instability is a known cause of increased osteoarthritis and pain in the knee.

Knee meniscus repair usually is not done. When the surgery is performed, however, the success rate is lower than patients often realize and the problems from complications can be legion

Meniscus Repair Complications: Does this Surgery Work? first appeared as a post on the Regenexx blog.