Partial Meniscectomy Surgeon

Are you an athlete who participates in sports or activities that running, jumping or a quick change of direction? If so, you may be at risk of tearing your meniscus. The meniscus can tear partially or completely and can be caused by a sports injury or by degeneration. The goal of a partial meniscectomy is to remove only a small portion of the damaged meniscus. Meniscus surgeon, Doctor Riley J. Williams provides diagnosis as well as surgical and nonsurgical treatment options for patients in Manhattan, New York City, NY who need meniscus repair surgery. Contact Dr. Williams’ team today!

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What is a partial meniscectomy?

A partial meniscectomy is a minimally invasive procedure that treats a symptomatic meniscus tear by removing the damaged portion of this cartilage cushion of the knee. Partial meniscectomy differs from a total meniscectomy in that only fragments of damaged cartilage are removed versus the entire meniscus. Orthopedic experts, like Dr. Riley J. Williams, serving patients in Manhattan, New York City and the surrounding New York boroughs, understand the importance of preserving meniscus tissue. A partial meniscectomy removes only the damaged portion of the meniscus; in most circumstances the meniscus cannot be repaired because it has a poor blood supply and a limited capacity to heal on its own. Arthroscopic partial meniscectomy surgery is performed using regional or local anesthesia on an outpatient basis.

What is a torn meniscus?

A torn meniscus describes a condition wherein the fibrocartilaginous meniscus structure is disrupted or damaged.  Meniscus tears can occur during high demand physical activities, like soccer or football, that require a quick change in direction and speed. There are two meniscus structures in each knee: inner (medial) and outer (lateral). The menisci resemble crescent-shaped wedges and provide cushion and stability within the knee joint.  The menisci are made of collagen and are very durable and strong. However, high forces applied to the knee can cause tearing of the meniscus tissue. Meniscus tears are typically observed as splits and rents; it is also possible for fragmented pieces of the meniscus cartilage to break loose into the knee. Unstable meniscal fragments oftentimes cause mechanical symptoms in the knee such as locking or catching. A meniscal tear can occur in one or both menisci in the knee; meniscus tears can cause pain, instability, inflammation, and weakness. A partial meniscectomy may be necessary when a torn meniscus causes discomfort that interferes with activities of daily living or sports. Frank locking of the knee is also a common condition that requires that a partial meniscectomy be performed. Inner sections of the menisci do not have a blood supply; blood supply is necessary to support the soft tissue healing process. When a tear occurs to the inner region of the meniscus, the tear does not heal, and will most likely require at partial meniscectomy.

How is a partial meniscectomy performed?

Dr. Williams typically does these procedures arthroscopically. Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that implements the use of a small surgical camera and small surgical tools, which are inserted through small incisions in the knee. The camera (arthroscope) projects images of the inside of the knee onto a monitor while Dr. Williams performs the surgery inside the knee. These procedures are typically very quick taking between 20-30 minutes to execute. Regional and local anesthesia is the norm for these procedures. Most patients can expect to go home the same day.

During a partial meniscectomy, Dr. Williams will remove any fragmented pieces of the menisci that are lodged in the knee joint. He will remove the damaged menisci and smooth any frayed areas of cartilage. The area of the meniscus that does not have blood supply is usually the driving factor behind a partial meniscectomy. Blood promotes healing, but the inner section of the meniscus (white zone) does not receive a blood supply. The outer section of the meniscus (red zone) has a blood supply and a better chance of self-repair. If the meniscus damage occurs in the outer third section, Dr. Williams may be able to repair the meniscus rather than removing the torn area.. The decision regarding removal or repair is made by Dr. Williams during the course of the procedure.

What are the risks of surgery?

The rare risks of arthroscopic partial meniscectomy include:

  • Infection
  • Blood clots (deep venous thrombosis)
  • Continued knee pain or weakness after surgery

How long does it take to recover from partial meniscectomy?

A patient can expect to heal within four to six weeks following an arthroscopic partial meniscectomy. Crutches are needed for a few days following the operation, but the patient may plant his or her foot of the injured knee on the ground and lightly bear weight immediately following the procedure. Pain tolerance will be a good guide to advancements in a treatment plan. The average patient will regain full movement of the knee within 2-5 days after surgery. Within the first few week, low-impact activities, such as cycling and rowing, can be introduced. An induvial can anticipate regular activities resuming at around 6 weeks. Those who possess a high fitness level before the procedure may heal more quickly. It is important to follow a physical therapy regime to regain proper range of motion, strength, and stability after the surgery. Partial meniscectomies have a high success rate for long-term recovery.

For additional resources on a partial meniscectomy, a torn meniscus, or to have your knee pain evaluated, please contact the office of Dr. Riley J. Williams, orthopedic knee surgeon serving Manhattan, New York and the surrounding New York Boroughs.