Meniscal repair

An operation to repair damaged knee cartilage and restore movement in your knee.

About meniscal repair

Meniscal repair is a type of keyhole surgery (arthroscopy) to repair torn knee cartilage and help restore movement in your knee.

Between the bones of your knee joint are c-shaped catilaginous cushions which have a shock absorbing and stabilising function.

A tear of this type of cartilage is most likely to occur with a twisting injury. As you get older, repeated heavy lifting, squatting and kneeling can cause it to wear away.

Cartilage has a poor blood supply, so if it is badly damaged, it may not heal by itself.

A torn knee cartilage can result in pain, swelling, stiffness and limited movement.

How is meniscal repair carried out?

Meniscal repair surgery is carried out under general anaesthetic, which means you'll be asleep. It usually takes about one hour.

Your surgeon makes a number of small cuts around the knee and inserts a telescopic camera and small surgical instruments. This allows your surgeon to see inside the joint on a monitor and to repair the torn cartilage with a range of procedures depending upon the type and position of the tear.

The small cuts will be closed with dissolvable stitches.

After meniscal repair

Depending on how you recover from the anaesthetic, you will be able to go home on the day of surgery.

Your knee will be swollen and can be painful for a few days after the operation – painkillers will help to manage the pain.

You will be given a special articulated brace which allows your knee to bend within a defined angle, and you will be given crutches. Range of movement and weight bearing will depend upon the type of tear and how strong the repair is.

You may not be able to put any weight on your injured leg for four to six weeks. We usually recommend that you don't drive for at least two weeks or until you can do an emergency stop.

We will suggest exercises you can do to help your knee recover and build the strength in your leg.

Once you can put weight on your knee again, you'll be referred to a physiotherapist to help you regain full movement, balance and strength.

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Published: 14 January 2020 | Review: 14 January 2023

Disclaimer: This information is published by Cromwell Hospital and is based on reputable sources of medical evidence and experience from over 30 years of treating patients. It has been peer reviewed by Cromwell Hospital doctors. The content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional. If you have any feedback on the content of this patient information document please email or telephone 020 7460 5901.