In the knee joint, two disk-shaped pieces of cartilage called the menisci function to absorb shock and provide stability. While this essential cartilage is quite resilient, forceful rotation of the knee can result in a meniscus tear. The meniscus may also degenerate over time. Depending on the size and nature of the injury, torn meniscus symptoms can vary greatly. In severe cases, the resulting pain, swelling and knee instability may be debilitating. Patients experiencing symptoms of a meniscus tear often ask: Does a torn meniscus require surgery, or can this common knee condition be treated conservatively? Read on to learn more about how the right treatment for a meniscus tear is determined on a case-by-case basis.
Does a Torn Meniscus Require Surgery?
If you are having symptoms of a torn meniscus, you are likely wondering what your treatment options are. Does a torn meniscus require surgery in all cases, or is it possible for the issue to be resolved with nonoperative treatment? The answer to this question will vary from patient to patient, as it is dependent upon numerous factors. All of the following will influence which type of treatment is most appropriate:
- Size & grade (severity) of the tear
- Location of the tear (medial or lateral)
- Pattern of the tear (radial, horizontal, etc.)
- Patient’s health history
- Patient’s age
- The patient’s activity level
Generally speaking, meniscus tears that are smaller in size, lower in grade or located on the outer edge tend to respond best to conservative treatment. First-line methods might include resting the knee, avoiding activities that worsen symptoms and taking pain relieving medications. In contrast, larger, more severe tears – as well as those located on the inner edge of the meniscus – are more likely to require surgery in order to be completely resolved.
Often, surgical meniscus repair is not necessary for older, less active patients, as they typically find that the tear does not significantly affect them in everyday life. On the other hand, young and active individuals opt for surgery more frequently. This is because surgical meniscus repair boosts a patient’s chances of resuming their normal activities in a shorter time frame.
Get Relief from Knee Symptoms with Cutting-Edge Treatment from Dr. Soffer
If you suspect that a meniscus tear may be behind your lingering knee discomfort, you are likely curious to know: Does a torn meniscus require surgery? As we explained above, there are many factors which should be considered to determine whether surgical meniscus repair is necessary.
For patients seeking expert, individualized knee care in the Reading, PA area, Dr. Stephen Soffer is a highly qualified choice with years of experience treating meniscus tears. When you visit his office, Dr. Soffer will thoroughly examine your knee and carefully consider your unique case in order to determine the best course of treatment for you. Should your condition necessitate surgical repair, you can fully depend on Dr. Soffer. He specializes in both open and minimally invasive arthroscopic knee surgery.
Ready to discuss your symptoms and treatment options with a compassionate orthopedic surgeon? Call our office at 610-375-4949 to schedule an in-person or telemedicine appointment with Dr. Soffer.