Keyhole surgery to remove damaged meniscus cartilage and improve movement in the knee.

About meniscectomy

Meniscectomy is a type of keyhole surgery (arthroscopy) to remove all or part of a torn cartilage in your knee.

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

Knee cartilage can become damaged as a result of injury or degenerative diseases such as arthritis. Damaged or torn cartilage results in pain, swelling and stiffness as the ragged edges of the tissue catch within the joint.

Your surgeon might recommend surgery to remove the damaged part of the cartilage to restore its smooth surface. This involves removing the section of damaged tissue or shaving it (debridement).

This type of procedure is done through keyhole surgery (arthroscopically). This is where your surgeon uses a tiny video camera and a monitor to carry out the surgery.

How is meniscectomy carried out?

You will usually be given a general anaesthetic which means you'll be asleep. The operation takes about 30 minutes.

Your surgeon will make a number of small cuts on your knee and insert a telescopic camera and surgical instruments.

The cartilage is either removed or shaved until the surface is smooth, and your surgeon will close the cuts with surgical tape or dissolvable stitches.

Recovering from meniscectomy

You should be able to return home and bear weight on the joint on the same day of the operation.

You will need to use crutches for a few days after surgery and might need to ice your knee if it's still swollen. Any pain should be manageable with over-the-counter painkillers.

You'll need to keep your wounds dry for 48 hours after the operation to help the healing process.

If you have a desk job, you can usually return to work within one to two days.

Those with more physical jobs may take longer to recover. You will be given some exercises to help strengthen your knee, and may be referred to a physiotherapist.

You should be able to resume sports or exercise within four to six weeks.

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Published: 14 January 2020 | Review: 14 January 2020

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.