Complex Meniscus Tears And Surgical Procedures

If you have developed a complex meniscus tear in one of your knees, then you will likely need to go through an orthopedic procedure called a meniscotomy. Keep reading to understand what a complex tear is and how a surgical procedure can help.

What Is A Complex Meniscus Tear?

A complex meniscus tear is an injury that typically involves the inner portion of the meniscus. The meniscus as a whole keeps the knee healthy by absorbing shock and stopping the end of the femur and tibia from rubbing against one another. The meniscus has two distinct parts that are called the red and white zones. The red zone is the outer part of the meniscus that is fed by a vast blood supply. The white zone is the inner portion that does not have a good blood supply, and this is where the complex tears are often located.

Complex tears within the white zone may start with a small bit of damage to the meniscus. Over time, degradation occurs and the tear becomes more pronounced and will often spread out. The white zone may degrade entirely and only the red zone will be left behind to reduce shock and stress.

Since tears in the white zone of the meniscus do not receive blood, oxygen, or nutrients, they do not heal on their own. This means that surgical intervention is almost always required regardless of the severity of the tear. However, surgeries can be postponed for some time if you are not experiencing a great deal of discomfort. 

What Type Of Surgery Is Performed?

If a complex tear is confined to one region of the meniscus, then a procedure may be performed to trim the damaged part of the white zone. This surgery, as well as many of the operations performed on the knee, are arthroscopic varieties that utilize a small camera to look inside the knee. Microscopic tools are used in conjunction with the camera to complete the trimming.

Sometimes the white zone may be removed without any replacement. If you are young and in good shape, then the red zone may be enough to keep your knee healthy. However, if tears develop in the red zone and the meniscus starts to thin overall, then the meniscus may be replaced. An artificial meniscus may be used or a donor one can be acquired instead.

Keep in mind that meniscus replacement operations do require a period of rehabilitation after the procedure. Speak with an orthopedic surgeon about this as well as the other treatment options that may be available to you. You can contact clinics like El Camino Center for Sports Medicine‚Äč for more information.