The Torn Meniscus - Poor Blood Supply, Poor Healing Potential
As a sports medicine surgeon, meniscus tears are something I deal with on a daily basis.
Unlike bone or muscle, meniscus tissue has a very poor blood supply. As such, it has poor healing potential.
Most patients tear along the thin, inner rim of the meniscus where there is no blood supply.
Arthroscopic Meniscal Repair
These tears cannot be repaired. Instead, in order to alleviate the pain, patients often come to arthroscopy where a telescope-like instrument is placed in the knee and the small torn portion of the meniscus is removed while preserving as much of the healthy, functioning portion of the meniscus as possible.
In a typical meniscus tear requiring arthroscopy, 10-15 percent of the meniscus has to be removed. If a patient has minimal arthritis (wearing of the coating cartilage on the end of the femur and/or tibia), then the patient can expect a great outcome.
If there is a meniscus tear and arthritis, then the outcome is typically inversely related to how severe the arthritis (ie. the worse the arthritis, the less pain relief there is). There is no need for crutches or a brace after arthroscopic meniscectomy and most patients are recovered within weeks.