Partial meniscectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the torn portion of the meniscus from the knee joint. Meniscus is the C-shaped cartilage located in the knee that lubricates the knee joint, acts as shock-absorber, and controls the flexion and extension of joint. Meniscal tears can occur at any age, but are more common in athletes playing contact sports. These tears are usually caused by twisting motion or over flexing of the knee joint. Athletes who play sports, such as football, tennis and basketball are at a higher risk of developing meniscal tears.
You may have pain over the inner or outer side of the knee, swelling, stiffness of knee, restricted movement of the knee, and difficulty in straightening your knee. If the conservative treatment such as pain medications, rest, physical therapy, and use of knee immobilizers fails to relieve pain, then surgery may be recommended. Surgical treatment options depend on the location, length, and pattern of the tear.
There are a number of surgical procedures for meniscal tears. If possible, the meniscus is repaired (sutured back together to preserve its function). If the tear is nor repairable, the other options include total and partial meniscectomy. In total meniscectomy, the majority of the meniscus is removed, but in partial only the torn portion of the meniscus is removed. Whilst symptoms are usually improved, some cushioning and stability between the joints is lost.
Partial or total meniscectomy is performed with arthroscopy, where several small incisions are made around the knee. Through one of the small incisions, a miniature camera is inserted to see inside of the knee. Tiny surgical instruments are inserted through other small incisions to repair the tear. During the procedure, the torn meniscus is removed and the remaining edges of the meniscus are smoothened so that there are no sharp ends. Any unstable fragments which are causing locking and catching sensation will also be removed.
Following surgery, gentle exercises and minimal walking in the first few days is recommended. This allows the body to make more lubricating fluid (which is washed out during the arthroscopy) and to recover from the surgery. A steady upgrading over weeks to months will usually result in good return of function and comfort.
Possible risks and complications of partial meniscectomy include infection, bleeding, and injury to blood vessels or nerves.