Meniscal surgery is done using an arthroscope, a small fibre-optic TV camera that is used to see and operate inside the joint. Only small incisions are needed during arthroscopy. The surgeon does not need to open the knee joint.
Before surgery you will be placed under general anaesthesia. The surgeon begins the operation by making two or three small openings into the knee, called portals. These portals are where the arthroscope and surgical instruments are placed inside the knee. Care is taken to protect the nearby nerves and blood vessels.
The procedure to carefully remove a damaged portion of the meniscus is called partial meniscectomy. The surgeon starts by inserting the arthroscope into one of the portals. A probe is placed into another portal. The surgeon watches on a screen while probing the meniscus. All parts of the inside of the knee joint are examined. When a meniscal tear is found, the surgeon determines the type and location of the tear. Surgical instruments are placed into another portal and are used to remove the torn portion of meniscus. When the problem part of the meniscus has been removed, the surgeon checks the knee again with the probe to be sure no other tears are present. A small motorised cutter is used to trim and shape the cut edge of the meniscus. The joint is flushed with sterile saline to wash away debris from the injury or from the surgery. The portals are closed with sutures.
Meniscal surgery is done as a day case procedure. Patients usually go home the same day as the surgery. The portals are covered with surgical strips, and the knee may be wrapped in an elastic bandage. Sutures will be removed by the outpatient nurses ten days post operation. You will be reviewed by your surgeon in clinic six weeks post operation.