A meniscus tear occurs when the C-shaped cartilage that cushions and provides the knee with stability gets ripped around its circumference; split in half; or torn gradually, leaving a frayed end and small fragments to float into the joint space.
This type of knee injury is common among athletes, particularly those who participate in contact sports; people whose activities or occupations involve pivoting and aggressive twisting; older people; and those with knee arthritis.
Symptoms of a meniscus tear include pain along the joint line; swelling; inability to bend or fully extend the knee; popping sensation; and limping. If you’re on this page because you’re experiencing these symptoms and you suspect you’ve torn your meniscus, read on to find out when surgery may be necessary for it.
Signs You May Need Surgery
Whether or not you need surgery for a meniscus tear essentially depends on its severity or extent.
Your orthopedic doctor will do a physical exam and order imaging scans (e.g., X-ray or MRI) to confirm a diagnosis and determine the severity of your tear. Your doctor will likely use a three-grade scale, as outlined below:
- Grade 1 tear is mild and can be seen on an MRI.
- Grade 2 tear is still minimal, but can be seen on both an MRI and an arthroscopic examination – a procedure in which your orthopedic surgeon inserts a thin, flexible tube with a fiber-optic video camera attached to its tip through a tiny incision to view inside your knee.
- Grade 3 tear is a large, distinct tear, which is visible on an MRI and arthroscopic examination.
In general, grades 1 and 2 do not require surgery, but a grade 3 tear almost always does, as it can lead to lasting pain and chronic knee instability, and put you at risk for early-onset osteoarthritis.
Additionally, you will know if you need surgery for your meniscus tear if your symptoms don’t respond to any type of nonoperative treatments (e.g., rest, medications, physical therapy, etc.); or are greatly interfering with your quality of life. Your orthopedic surgeon will carry out a thorough assessment to ascertain your eligibility for meniscal surgery.
Meniscal Surgery Near Me in Fort Lauderdale, FL
If you’re looking for a reliable orthopedic surgeon within in the Fort Lauderdale area in Florida, look no further than ours here at Paul Meli Orthopedics.
A board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Paul Meli holds a solid reputation spanning more than three decades. This stems from his expertise, sharp clinical acumen, great bedside manner, and commitment to delivering the best possible outcomes for the full range of interventions – including meniscal surgery.
Make an appointment with Dr. Meli today. Call us at 954-324-7711, or click here to submit an appointment request. We look forward to helping you bounce back from your injury, so you can live your best life again!