Unveiling the Mysteries of Meniscal Surgery: A Comprehensive Guide for the Novice and Nervous - Medical Pulse



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The knee is a complex joint that supports much of our weight and allows mobility. The menisci are cartilaginous structures located inside the knee, which play an essential role in its stability and cushioning. A meniscal injury can occur following trauma or due to natural wear and tear associated with age.

When a meniscal injury causes pain, swelling, or instability in the knee, surgery may be necessary to repair the damage and restore normal function to that joint. In this article, we provide you with a comprehensive overview of meniscal surgery so that you can understand the different procedures, the post-operative process and the risks and expected results.

Meniscal surgery: what does it consist of?

Meniscal surgery aims to treat problems caused by tearing or abnormal wear of the two cartilaginous discs located between the femur (thigh bone) and the tibia (lower leg bone). This procedure is generally done arthroscopically, that is, using a camera and small instruments inserted through small incisions made around the knee.

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The choice of procedure depends primarily on the nature and extent of the damage to the meniscus, as well as the patient’s age, activities and goals. The two main options are:

  • The meniscal suture
  • Meniscectomy

Meniscal suture

Meniscal suturing involves repairing damaged cartilage tissue by sewing the torn edges together. This technique is generally preferred when the tear is located in a well-vascularized area (i.e. rich in blood vessels), which promotes good healing. Suture repair often provides complete recovery and preserves meniscus function more than meniscectomy.


Meniscectomy involves removing all or part of the damaged meniscus to relieve painful symptoms and improve joint function. This option is generally considered when the tear is located in a poorly vascularized area (therefore less conducive to healing) or if it is too extensive to be repaired by suture.

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Post-operative rehabilitation

Rehabilitation after meniscal surgery is essential to regain normal knee function and prevent complications. The rehabilitation program will depend on the procedure performed, but it generally includes:

  • Muscle strengthening exercises to support the knee joint
  • Range of motion exercises to improve flexibility and balance
  • Using a splint or compression bandage to control swelling and protect the knee while it heals
  • The gradual return to daily activities and sports according to the doctor’s recommendations.

Risks and complications specific to this procedure

Like any surgical procedure, meniscal surgery carries risks. Complications specific to this operation may include:

  • Infection
  • Excessive bleeding or hematoma (collection of blood in the joint)
  • Damage to the nerves or blood vessels around the knee
  • Recurrence of meniscal tear or failure of healing
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However, it is important to emphasize that these complications are rare and that arthroscopy is considered a minimally invasive technique with a low complication rate.

Expected results after the operation

The results of meniscal surgery depend on several factors, including the nature and extent of damage to the meniscus, the procedure performed, and the quality of rehabilitation. Overall, patients can expect:

  • A reduction or disappearance of pain
  • Improved knee stability
  • A gradual return to daily activities and sports.

However, it is important to note that some patients may experience a slight limitation in their range of motion or develop early osteoarthritis following this procedure.

Other types of knee surgeries performed by Dr. Paillard

Although this article focuses on meniscal surgery, it is worth mentioning other common knee procedures performed by Dr. Paillard:

  • Ligamentoplasty: reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligaments (ACL) or posterior cruciate ligaments (LCP)
  • Tibial osteotomy: modification of bone alignment to relieve painful symptoms linked to osteoarthritis

To find out more about these other interventions, do not hesitate to consult your GP or an orthopedic specialist.

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