Meniscus Tear Treatment
Among various types of knee injuries, a meniscus tear is one of the most common. Although meniscus tears commonly occur among athletes who play contact sports, anyone at any age can sustain this injury. The injury can occur in different ways. Tears are noted by how they appear as well as the location of the tear in the meniscus.
Common tears include flap, bucket handle and radial. Sports related meniscus tears often occur together with other knee injuries. Board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Steven Thomas and Dr. Gregory Bigler provide treatments for meniscus tears to patients in Las Vegas, Nevada, and surrounding regions.
Some of the common symptoms of meniscus tears include:
- Swelling and stiffness
- Locking of the knee
- A feeling of the knee ‘giving way’
- Inability to perform the full range of motion with the knee
In absence of treatment for the meniscus tear, a piece of meniscus may come loose and drift into the joint. This may cause the knee to lock, pop, or slip.
The treatment for meniscus tears will depend on the type of the tear, and its location and size. The outer one-third of the meniscus has rich blood supply, and healing may occur more easily, with or without surgery. But the inner two-third of the meniscus has no blood supply, which means it will not heal. Therefore, the tears in this zone may have to be surgically trimmed away.
RICE, or rest, ice, compression and elevation treatment protocol is effective for many sports related injuries, including minor meniscus tears. To give rest to the knee, the surgeon may recommend the use of crutches. Ice therapy involving cold packs can be performed several times a day for 20 minutes at a time.
An elastic compression bandage may be worn to prevent additional swelling and loss of blood. The leg may be placed in an elevated position while resting in order to mitigate swelling. NSAIDs may be used for a few days to reduce swelling and pain.
One of the most commonly performed surgical procedures to treat meniscus tears is knee arthroscopy. A miniature camera will be introduced into the inner knee structure through a small incision. Miniature surgical instruments are inserted through other tiny incisions to perform the tear repair, while the surgeon views the inner structure on a monitor.
In some cases, the surgeon may repair a meniscus tear by suturing the torn pieces together. Success in this repair procedure will depend on the type of tear and the overall condition of the injured meniscus. Recovery in this procedure is longer because the meniscus must heal back together.
Dr. Thomas and Dr. Bigler are board certified orthopedic surgeons receiving patients from Las Vegas, Nevada, and nearby areas for meniscus tear treatments.
Once the surgery is over, the knee may be placed in a cast or brace. The patient may be required to use crutches for one month to keep the body weight off the knee. Rehabilitation exercises will be prescribed by the surgeon once the initial healing is completed.
If you would like to schedule an appointment or learn more about the Knee and Shoulder Institute procedures & treatments performed by Las Vegas, Nevada board certified surgeons Steven C. Thomas, MD and Gregory T. Bigler, MD. call (702) 933-9393; Physical Therapy (702) 933-9394