What do they do for a meniscus tear?

Having a meniscus tear can be quite an unpleasant experience. Whether it’s from playing your favorite sport or getting tangled up in the carpet, damage to the cartilage in your knee joint is not something you should ignore. But don’t worry, we’re here to guide you through what exactly happens when the ‘C’ word (Cartilage – what did you think I meant?) gets damaged and how we fix it. Read on!

Understanding The Meniscus

First things first, let’s get into understanding our enemy- ahem, sorry I meant injury! The meniscus is essentially a crescent-shaped piece of tissue that acts like a cushion between your thigh bone (femur) and shinbone(tibia). It helps absorb shock and distribute weight evenly as you walk or run around.

Picture this: Your leg acts like those wooden sticks held together with rubber bands that are easy to break apart if pulled separately but pretty tough if kept together(your bones being the sticks, and your menisci being the rubber bands), so having healthy menisci keeps everything nice and stable despite all heavy lifting around by us humans!

Types of Meniscal Tears:

Before we dive much deeper into how they fix meniscal tears let’s discuss what different types exist out there:
Traumatic: Happens due to any sudden jerk while bodyweight loading
Degenerative: Occurs from regularly putting mild stress on tendons/menisci over time
If someone tells you about inner/outer side tears don’t get confused as these terms only indicate where the tear happened rather than its type.

Well now at least that settles some basics down right?
Let’s check out how doctors diagnose & decide whether surgery actually needed.

Several tests (Doesn’t hurt at all and no blood testing involved…honestly!) can usually reveal whether you have damaged your meniscus or not. A physical examination and checking the symptoms you feel give a good initial indication of the problem, however, seeing inside the knee through an imaging test helps confirm it.

Tools to diagnose a Meniscal Tear

The following are tools usually used to confirm a diagnosis:
MRI Scans

While X-rays can’t show cartilage itself they are much better in depicting bony structures around joints, but MRIs make one sure shot tool for diagnosing meniscal tears as well as other soft tissue injuries.

Once it’s confirmed that surgery is required after MRI scans/tests (don’t start planning if your first day at rehab started) then doctors have options available after considering various things like where exactly the tear occurred/reached/is moving towards etc.
Replacement vs repair- which sounds better?

If possible repairing damaged areas through procedures called Soft tissue repair/sewing together with sutures may heal torn parts faster than complete replacement(shocking!). Also known as Meniscus stitching / Meniscus suturing may be done as well. The main advantage being retained originality of this part acting naturally in weight distribution without affecting any functioning movement/operations.

Although one disadvantage includes limited range of motion initially where patients face immobilization periods post operation and also need long-term rehabilitation along with shorter lifespan compared to menisci replacements(roundabout 5 years only)

Ahem…here’s another upside; able-bodied young adults treatments using these get no blood clotting risking events involved. No complaints here since we all know pains from bad surgeries causing more damage!

So picture this – You had fumbled on rocks during trekking & now having recuperation time sitting home looking for quick recoveries till next adventure waiting! But hang on tight let’s head into option number 2.

The other option after careful consideration – common among those suffering from extreme damage or age-related weakening, often resulting in the whole meniscus needing to be replaced& that’s where Meniscectomy comes into play; this involves removing damaged parts and replacing them with artificial/synthetic ones (One small step for man, One giant leap for the menisci kind :wink:).

People undergoing Meniscal replacement suffer less from limited range of motion but there is a potential side effect (I know, we just cannot always have all upsides) associated with it – early onset arthritis & quicker rate of joint degeneration so doctors usually avoid advising someone who will be very active post-treatment!

On the brighter note? It has one good reason doctors keeping doing it- Longer lifespan than repair procedures mentioned earlier. (Roundabout 25 years) That’s quite some time huh?

Other Options – Are you ready for some unconventional therapies?

Apart from these standard treatment methods like therapy Rehab with Exercises/Strengthening exercises/light workout under medical supervision serving as major add ons including weight loss management along! But hey why stick to conventional options when different treatments are out there like:
Massage therapies

Known as evidence behind fitness myths they might not sound effective but surprisingly people vouch by them afterwards!

So whether you opt-in/let fate decide which treatment is best we hope understanding about your injury level led ease on tough choices between replacements vs repairs.

Let yourself relax soon though! And not during Surgery guys!

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