Repairing Your Meniscus

Whatever sport you play, your meniscus keeps you in the game.

What is your Meniscus?

A meniscus is a C-shaped of cartilage that is both strong and elastic. Each knee has two, one on the inner and one on the outer side of the knee. The meniscus provides cushioning and stability to the knee joint. A common type of meniscus damage is a torn meniscus. A meniscus tear can occur suddenly or over time. A traumatic meniscal injury can be from a twist of the knee or a sudden stop and are commonly seen in athletes. Wear and tear from a lifetime of use can also cause degenerative tears in adults.
Meniscus tears are a common injury, and TOC’s Sports Medicine specialists have years of expertise delivering the gold standard for an accurate diagnosis and treatment. Depending on the nature and extent of the damage, meniscus tear symptoms may vary. Pain, swelling, stiffness, instability, and a catching or locking sensation in the knee are all possible symptoms.

How is a torn meniscus repaired?

To improve patient outcomes, the TOC Sports Medicine team has developed excellent methods for healing and repairing the meniscus. They have the following:

• Innovative surgical techniques that result in faster recovery times.

• Mastering procedures for repairing or transplanting them.

Meniscus tears can be treated at TOC with procedures that are less invasive than in the past, which enables athletes to get back to the sports they enjoy playing faster. “Some treatments can be delivered through minimally invasive procedures and quicker recovery time than before” states Dr. Cantrell.

“Younger athletes have a greater improvement with meniscus repair compared to removal,” says Dr. Davis. Which may also be associated with a lower risk of developing arthritis.

Tears in the meniscus are a common injury among younger athletes, but the sports medicine team at TOC usually has considerable success treating them.

According to Stanton Davis M.D., “in the past, if you tore your meniscus, arthritis was inevitable. With surgery we have reduced this risk. Now, we can fix tears that couldn’t be fixed even five years ago. Techniques to repair or replace a torn meniscus have improved outcomes, returning athletes to play quicker, safer and with better long-term results.”
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) is being used in certain meniscus procedures by the doctors at TOC Sports Medicine to speed up the recovery time.

John Greco, M.D. explains, “the use of PRP in surgery helps promote healing because there are new stresses placed on the root repair.”

What if the meniscus can’t be repaired?

If the meniscus is so badly damaged that it cannot be repaired, it may need to be removed.

Meniscus replacement, or meniscus allograft transplantation, is a minimally invasive surgery in which a healthy meniscus is surgically implanted in place of a damaged one. TOC’s Stanton Davis, M.D. has a high success rate with meniscus replacement.

Some people simply aren’t good candidates for meniscal transplants. A meniscal transplant might not help someone who already has knee arthritis. Still, meniscal transplants can be a game-changer for those who qualify.

Overall, there has been significant progress made in the treatment of meniscal injuries. “We’ve been able to help patients who were concerned that they wouldn’t be able to bend their knees in a certain way or have a full range of motion to return to their sports,” explains Michael Cantrell, M.D.

How long does it take to heal from a meniscal surgery?

The healing process following meniscus surgery can take from two to six months. Athletes who have had their injuries repaired at TOC benefit from the clinic’s individualized rehabilitation programs. “TOC Sports Medicine is dedicated to the complete care of sports-related injuries, offering a comprehensive program of prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation. We’ll get you back in the game” says Dr. Greco.

TOC is pleased to provide its patients with Alabama’s largest group of sports medicine specialists. Seven of our providers have completed a fellowship in sports medicine, and an additional three providers have a keen interest in the field. In the North Alabama region, TOC works with more than 40 athletic trainers to provide treatment for athletes at 24 schools.

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