Surgery is indicated for people who have symptomatic tears of the meniscus. Meniscal tears can cause pain in the knee as well as mechanical symptoms including locking, catching, intermittent sharp pains, and sometimes even giving way.
Only the outer 10 to 30 percent of the meniscus has a blood supply that is required to allow tissues to heal. Because of this limited blood supply and limited ability to heal and repair itself, the meniscus tends to develop degenerative tears (from “wear and tear”) over time. The majority of meniscal tears are generally degenerative but sometimes a single injury can suddenly extend a developing tear, causing it to become symptomatic (painful). Unfortunately, because of the instability (movement) of the torn fragment of the meniscus and its limited blood supply, meniscal tears generally do not heal or regenerate themselves. Also, because of this limited blood supply and the fact that a majority of tears are degenerative in nature (“beat-up” without clean edges that can be sewn together), most meniscal tears cannot be repaired and require arthroscopic partial meniscectomy (removal of the torn and damaged portion of the meniscus).
The goal of meniscal surgery is to eliminate the symptoms in your knee by removing only the torn and damaged portion of the meniscus. Dr. Steven Chudik, arthroscopic knee specialist, removes the torn portion of the meniscus arthroscopically and contours (smooths) the edges of the tear can prevent progression of the tear (increasing in size) and displacement of the tear, which causes the painful mechanical symptoms of catching, locking or giving way.