The meniscus is a “C” shaped piece of cartilage located within the knee that acts as a shock absorber between the tibia and femur bone. The meniscus is essential for the proper function of the knee. A torn meniscus is one of the most common knee injuries, especially in athletes who play sports that require sudden stops or twists and turns. Symptoms of a torn meniscus include pain, swelling, and stiffness. You may also experience your knee locking or the inability to perform certain functions.
As with most injuries, orthopedic specialists aim to provide patients with conservative, non-surgical treatments first. If these fail to provide relief, you may require meniscus surgery . After a thorough examination, your surgeon will decide the best surgery option for you. Depending on the severity and location of the tear, your surgeon may recommend a meniscus allograft transplantation.
A meniscus transplant surgery requires the removal of the damaged meniscus and replaces it with healthy cadaver tissue. If possible, the surgeon will perform the surgery arthroscopically by making a few small incisions and using a small camera (arthroscope) to see inside the knee in greater detail. Through small surgical tools, the surgeon will remove the damaged cartilage and replace it with the cadaver cartilage and secure it with sutures and possibly screws or other devices. The goal of the transplant is to alleviate pain and prevent arthritis.
You might be a good candidate for meniscal allograft surgery if you meet the following criteria:
- You have had your meniscus removed previously
- You are younger than 50
- You have stable knees
- You are active and motivated
- You have a large tear that is not repairable
- You do not have arthritis
- You have a BMI under 30
The recovery process can look different for everyone, but typically after surgery, you will be advised to wear a brace and use crutches for a few weeks. Most orthopedists recommend physical therapy soon after surgery, lasting anywhere between 4 and 8 months, depending on several factors. It may be several months before you return to normal activities but patients who undergo meniscal allograft surgery generally experience positive outcomes.
If you think you might be a good candidate for meniscal allograft transplantation, give our office a call and make an appointment. With over 15 years of experience in treating complex knee conditions Dr. Mithoefer can provide you with a personalized treatment plan so you can get back to doing the activities you love.
Dr. Kai Mithoefer is board-certified in both Orthopedic Surgery and Orthopedic sports medicine specialist. Dr. Mithoefer is an internationally recognized specialist for complex shoulder and knee injuries with over 15 years of experience with the treatment of sports-related injuries. Dr. Mithoefer has published more than 100 scientific articles and book chapters and is a frequent speaker at national and international orthopedic meetings.