1. ANATOMY and FUNCTION: The menicus is
a fibrocartilage cushion that acts as a shock absorber
in the knee joint. There is one meniscus on each side of the joint...medial and lateral. Each
meniscus is flat and C-shaped, partially enclosing the surface on the tibia to deepen it and
thereby add stability to the knee. The surface area for contact between the femur and the tibia is
greatly increased by each menicus. This protects the articular cartilage covering on the bones by
keeping the contact pressure to a minimum.
2. INJURY: A torn meniscus
can occur from a single injury or from years of wear and tear. The typical
injury is when the knee is twisted or angulated under load. If the meniscus is already weak from
aging, a simple squats can cause a tear. Once torn, the function of that part of the meniscus is lost,
and pain and swelling ensues.
3. TREATMENT: Simply stated, there is only
one way to treat a torn meniscus...surgery. Fortunately,
we now have arthroscopic technology available which allows us to perform the operation through
two tiny punctures. One protal is used for a small telescope (arthroscope), the other is used for tiny
instruments. The tear in the meniscus usually produces an unstable flap of tissue which must be
removed. Some tears, particularly in younger patients, can be repaired, thereby saving this vital
tissue and preserving its function. The surgery lasts from 30 to 60 minutes and is performed as an
outpatient procedure. Rehabilitation begins almost immediately and full recovery occurs at about 4
If more than
half the meniscus is removed, its function is lost...and articular cartilage
will occur in that part of the knee. This may begin to cause pain within 2 to 5 years. MENISCUS
TRANSPLANTATION is a procedure where a meniscus from a human tissue bank is surgically
placed into a knee that is undergoing this degeneration. This is a fairlynew operation with about 10
years of follow-up. The patient experiences relief of pain and increases his/her activity in over 855
of the cases studied. It is our hope that this procedure will delay or prevent the onset of articular
cartilage degeneration and destruction of the joint.
has had special training in meniscus transplantation surgery and has performed
80 of these operations. He is currently participating in clinical research to evaluate the longterm
results of this procedure.