what is the meniscus?
Meniscus Cartilage is a type of knee cartilage. These are C-shaped pads found between the femur and tibia (thigh and shin bones at the knee joint). There is one on each side of the knee, the inner or medial and the outer or lateral. They serve to cushion the joint and act as shock absorbers.
Knees are designed to withstand the pressures of a lifetime of walking, running, sitting, and standing. But in many cases, the joint’s delicate balance is disturbed. An injury may cause the
meniscus to tear, or may give rise to defects in the articular cartilage. An injury is not limited to major trauma. It can occur with normal daily activities such as simple squatting or repetitive injury such as over training. Other activity or even incorrect weight training, especially in the young athlete can cause a lifetime of problems. Over time, small defects in the cartilage can worsen, leading to more wide spread damage and, eventually, the pain and disability of arthritis. This type of arthritis is called Osteoarthritis
Knee meniscal cartilage tears represent the most common knee problem leading to surgery in America. Meniscus damage can occur with activities of daily living without specific trauma, as well as trauma that occurs in sport or the work place. Once there is injury to the meniscal cartilage, the body’s response is often pain and swelling. At times, the knee may “lock”, “give way ” or “go out”. The meniscal tear causes the body’s weight to be distributed unevenly. As a result of increased stress over time, the articular cartilage may break down – which can lead to degenerative arthritis.
At The Joint Preservation Center, we do everything possible to repair or even replace torn meniscal cartilage. In the past, through large open operations, the treatment of such injuries was the complete removal of the torn meniscus that most often lead to degenerative changes. Today, physicians recognize the protective value of the meniscus. We now have the technology to remove only the injured area or preserve and repair the cartilage in some cases.
replacing the meniscus
For some patients who have had the meniscus completely removed in a previous surgery, The Joint Preservation Center offers an innovative solution called a meniscus transplant. Using this technique, surgeons transplant donated meniscus cartilage – which has been tested to ensure that it is free of any transmitable disease – to replace the removed meniscus. Unlike other forms of tissue transplantation, this procedure does not require patients to be on medications to prevent tissue rejection.