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Do Meniscus Tears Need Surgery?


Will I heal with non-surgical treatment for a meniscus tear, or does my meniscus tear need meniscus surgery?

Meniscus tears are common knee injuries. Knee twisting or a blow to the knee during sports frequently causes injury. Vail Summit Orthopaedics & Neurosurgery (VSON) provides expert treatment for meniscus tears and meniscus surgery. Patients are concerned, "Will I heal with non-surgical treatment for a meniscus tear, or does my meniscus tear need meniscus surgery?" The VSON's orthopaedic knee surgeons have the skills, training, and expertise to answer patients' concerns. Our meniscus tear doctors include:

What Are Meniscus Tears


The meniscus, a C-shaped cushion of cartilage in the knee joint between the thigh and shin bones, acts as a shock absorber. It is subject to trauma and wear and tear. Patients present with symptoms that begin within 24 hours of injury.


Meniscus tear symptoms include:

  • Pain, stiffness, swelling

  • Popping sensation or a feeling of the knee giving out

  • Locked-in feeling, inability to straighten the knee

  • Inability to twist/rotate knee without increased pain

A comprehensive physical examination and advanced diagnostic imaging will determine the meniscus tear's exact location, size, and depth. An x-ray will rule out contributing structural issues. An MRI will provide images of both the hard and soft tissue of the knee, detailing the tear. Treatment for meniscus tears is based on the diagnostic finding; grades 1 and 2 (partial tears) and grade 3 (complete tears).

Treatment for Meniscus Tears and Meniscus Surgery


Partial meniscus tears may improve with non-surgical treatment: rest, ice, compression, elevation, pain management, injection therapy, and physical therapy. When symptoms persist or with complete meniscus tears, surgery may be recommended. VSON knee specialists utilize minimally invasive arthroscopic surgical techniques. Two common meniscus surgeries include:

  1. Meniscus Repair - Repairing of the meniscus tear with sutures, indicated for meniscus tears to the inner two-thirds of the cartilage with its limited blood supply.

  2. Meniscectomy - Removal of the injured area of the meniscus, indicated for meniscus tears to the outer ⅓ of the cartilage, with adequate blood supply for healing.


Meniscus Pain? Contact VSON Today!


To determine if a meniscus tear needs surgery, contact our meniscus treatment specialists. Request a consultation today! In Vail at 970-476-7220, in Frisco at: 970-668-3633, and in Crested Butte at: 970-641-6788.

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