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Failed Meniscus Repair


The meniscus is a C-shaped cartilage that functions as a cushion between the long bones of the shin and thigh. Forceful twisting of the knee while bearing weight on it can result in a torn meniscus. Small tears in the meniscus often heal with rest. Moderate tears on the outer edge of the meniscus tend to respond favorably to surgical repair. However, the deeper the tear, the less likely it is to heal after surgical repair. This is because the center of the meniscus has no blood supply when compared to the outer one-third of the meniscus.

Failed Meniscus Repair

Meniscal repair may be performed either by open surgery under direct vision or minimally invasively using an arthroscope, which is a thin tube fitted with a camera that can be inserted into the knee through a very small incision to locate and repair the damaged meniscus.

Three months following meniscal repair if pain and disability persist, a failed meniscal repair may be suspected and can be confirmed by performing a repeat arthroscopy.

Factors that may cause a failed meniscal repair include:

  • Patients older than 40 years of age
  • Delayed treatment
  • Ragged, degenerative and complex tears
  • Full-thickness tear
  • Tears in the inner margin that lack blood supply

Following a failed meniscal repair, your doctor will recommend conservative therapy with pain medication and activity modification if the symptoms are minimal. If a residual tear is diagnosed, the meniscus may be trimmed before considering a second surgical repair of the meniscus.

Practice Locations
Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center

3000 North Halsted Street.
Suite 525
Chicago, IL 60657

Amita St. Joseph's Hospital

331 W. Surf Street
Suite 6400
Chicago, IL 60657