Meniscus: repair or replace?

WASHINGTON, DC (Ivanhoe Newswire) — A misstep on the sports field or an awkward move while twisting or turning at home or work.  Sometimes it doesn’t take much to tear the meniscus, the rubbery piece of cartilage protecting the knee. When there’s a tear that won’t heal, is it better for doctors to repair or replace?

Seventeen-year-old, Owen Joyce, loves to practice soccer with his brother Reilly. Owen is a three sport varsity athlete. During tryouts last spring, he made a sudden move and another player fell onto his leg.

Owen explained, “When I went to lift it up it caved in, and this part of my knee went straight to the ground and it kinda noodled out. And, it just felt like a huge release of pressure.”

Owen had an ACL injury and a torn meniscus. Both required surgery.

“Many, many years ago, meniscus tears were thought to be best dealt with by just taking the whole meniscus out. Unfortunately, that led to a lot of arthritis,” said John-Paul H. Rue, MD, Orthopedic Sports Medicine Surgeon at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore.

Over the past ten years, studies show a growing number of patients are opting to have the meniscus repaired.

Dr. Rue continued, “As we’ve gotten better with technology and the surgical tools and our ability to fix these or repair these, we’ve become more skilled at preserving the meniscus.”

Dr. Rue said surgeons weigh a patient’s age and the extent of the injury. If the tear is in what they call the “red zone”, an area where there’s good blood supply that helps with healing. One drawback, recovery after repair is slow, six to eight weeks.

It’s been several months since doctors repaired Owen’s ACL and meniscus. He’s almost full strength.

Owen’s advice to others, “Your time will come soon enough when you are gonna be able to get back on that field and play the way you used to.”

As we age, the meniscus becomes more brittle, making it more susceptible to tears. Minor tears can go away in two or three weeks. Moderate to severe tears often require treatment. The good news is that Owen has just been fully cleared to play soccer again.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor and Videographer.

Related Articles

Graham, Durbin introduce bipartisan immigration bill despite setbacks A bipartisan group of senators on Wednesday formally unveiled their immigration proposal with new supporters, even as the White House continued to cal...
Kentucky bill offers immunity for breaking into cars to rescue pets The Kentucky Senate has passed a bill that would give civil immunity to people who break into locked vehicles to rescue dogs and cats considered to be...
Responders fight fire at Peck’s Market in bitter cold Snow and ice didn't keep a community staple of nearly 50 years from going up in flames Wednesday. Multiple agencies responded to a fire at Peck's Mark...
Local couple risks their lives trying to rescue horses from burning barn When a horse barn went up in flames, the owners risked their lives to try to save the animals inside. All but one horse made it out alive.