TREATMENT OF MENISCAL INJURIES
The majority of the time, tears of the meniscus need to be surgically corrected to prevent further injury of the knee joint. This is due to the fact that the meniscus has a limited blood supply. Only the outside third of the meniscus is supplied with blood. This is considered the red zone. Tears in this area can heal if repaired. Tears on the inner third of the meniscus, the white zone, is not supplied with blood and will not heal.
Surgical treatment of meniscal tears involves an arthroscopic procedure. This is where Dr. Lowe inserts a small camera and various instruments into the joint and performs the procedure through usually two small incision portals. These portals are made just below the patella and on both sides of the patellar tendon. Dependant upon the location and type of tear, Dr. Lowe will decide if he can repair the tear or if removal of the torn area has to be done. Removal of the involved area is known as a partial menisectomy. The goal is to leave as much of the healthy meniscal tissue as possible. If Dr. Lowe feels that the tear is in a location that should heal with surgical intervention, he will perform a meniscal repair using either of two methods.
An "All-Inside" meniscal repari technique uses Smith & Nephew FasT-Fix sutures implanted through the incision portals without any other incisions. An "Open Meniscal Repair" requires an additional incision and inside-to-outside Smith & Nephew Zone-Specific sutures are used. Dr. Lowe will determine during surgery which method is most appropriate to use.
EXAMPLES OF MENISCAL INJURIES
Below are some operative photos of various meniscal tears and their treatment(s).
Normal Meniscus Torn Meniscus
Torn section shaved out Meniscus repaired