A torn meniscus is among the most common types of knee injuries. Any physical activity that causes a forceful twisting or rotating of the knee, especially when applying the full body weight to the knees, can result in a torn meniscus,often requiring meniscus surgery.
The knee meniscus is a tough, rubbery, c-shaped cartilage disc that acts as a shock absorber within the knee, connecting the shinbone and thighbone. It is frequently injured when playing contact sports, however, non-athletes can also experience a meniscus tear from lifting a heavy object when the knee is turned or while squatting. The meniscus weakens with age as knee bone and tissue become worn with time, increasing the risk of a knee injury.
Dr. Chris Mellano performs a complete evaluation of the knee, which may include diagnostic imaging with an MRI to assess the extent of the damage. Drawing on his 11 years of experience as a board-certified Orange County orthopedic surgeon, he develops an individualized treatment plan to repair the torn meniscus and restore the knee to full functionality when surgery is indicated. At Mellano Orthopedics we strive to provide you with the best meniscus surgery Orange County has to offer, so call today!
An untreated torn meniscus has risks beyond the immediate pain it causes. Without prompt treatment, part of the meniscus can loosen and become dislodged. Untreated meniscus tears can slip into the joint, leading to the need for a more comprehensive knee reconstruction surgery.
Severe meniscus tears are unlikely to heal without surgical intervention, that's why at Mellano Orthopedics in Orange County meniscus surgery is offered to our patients. While a mild meniscus injury may resolve on its own without surgery in some cases, there is no guarantee that this will happen. Meniscus problems tend to get worse over time, often causing arthritis and mobility issues, which can be debilitating.
Athletes and fitness lovers are among the first to seek treatment for a damaged meniscus. Since the meniscus plays such an integral role in functions of the knee such as standing, walking, squatting, and lifting, it is essential to evaluate and treat meniscus tears at the first sign of trouble, regardless of your activity level.
Arthroscopic knee surgery for a torn meniscus is the most common approach. Dr. Mellano specializes in minimally invasive knee surgery with arthroscopic repair.
Small incisions are made in the knee to gain access to the torn meniscus. The arthroscope, a slender robotic device, allows your surgeon to view what is happening inside the knee. Small, durable specialty stitches are then placed on the torn meniscus. This provides strength and support to the meniscus as it heals. The body absorbs the stitches over time, so there is no need for stitch removal.
In some cases, a part of the torn meniscus may need to be removed. In more severe cases, the surgeon may need to remove and replace the whole meniscus with open surgery (meniscectomy) although an arthroscopic surgery approach is preferred when possible. Patients may return home the same day as surgery.
Dr. Mellano takes a conservative approach to keep as much of the original meniscus as possible. In the case of severe meniscal tears, the meniscus may require total removal. When the entire meniscus is removed, it can be replaced with a meniscal transplant using donor cartilage from a human donor.
A transplant is necessary because, without the meniscus, the articular cartilage of the knee begins to wear away, resulting in “bone on bone” friction that is quite painful. The goal of meniscal transplant surgery is to replace the cushion that exists at the connecting joint of the knee. This provides support and stabilization of the knee, freeing the patient of chronic knee pain. It is also thought to delay the development of knee arthritis.
In addition to seeing an orthopedic surgeon, to assess the damage, there are steps patients can take to help heal a torn meniscus.
An MRI reveals the grade of meniscus tear that is present. Severe meniscus tears that show grade 3 meniscal damage may require immediate surgery to restore the knee to full functionality. Mild meniscal tears may not require immediate surgery if appropriate actions are taken to allow the meniscus to heal.
Dr. Mellano’s mission is to give his Orange County patients the freedom to keep doing the activities they love. If you are struggling with joint pain, arthritis, lack of mobility, or joint inflammation, contact Dr. Mellano for a consultation so he can help you get moving again.
8700 Warner Ave Suite 140
Fountain Valley, CA 92708