Preparation, Procedure & Recovery of Meniscus Arthroscopy

Submitted by Nic on December 26, 2012

There are two divisions in meniscus arthroscopy. They are meniscus and arthroscopy. One must understand the individual terms to understand the concept as a whole.


Meniscus is the cartilage that coats the bone in joints like the knee, the shoulder, etc. The meniscus is meant to provide a smooth surface for the joint to flex.


Arthroscopy is a form of surgery where small holes are made in the skin and miniature instruments inserted along with a video camera. The surgeon views the monitor that displays the inside of the joint and performs surgery using the instruments.

Arthroscopy is considered a better option than open surgery because the results are the same, while recovery times are much faster.

Medial Meniscus Arthroscopy

The medial meniscus is the meniscus found in the knee. The knee joint has the lateral and the medial meniscus. Injury to the medial meniscus is the most common. Generally, injury is in the form of trauma that injures the meniscus and causes a tear. Medial meniscus arthroscopy is the procedure that is employed to snip out the torn portion to aid in faster recovery.

Preparation and Procedure

The procedure calls for very little meniscus arthroscopy preparation. The procedure is as follows:

  • The patient is usually put under general anesthesia.
  • Two small snips are made to the skin at the joint to allow for the insertion of the video camera and the instruments.
  • A special fluid is pumped into the joint to aid in visualization. Although not dangerous, excess fluid in the joint can result in edema.
  • The surgery is performed and the incisions stitched.

Meniscal Allograft Transplantation

Lately, a procedure called meniscal allograft transplantation is being done on people who have very severe damage to the meniscus such as in arthritis. A meniscus taken from a dead person is surgically drafted on to the joint and sutured in place, helping to relieve many of the symptoms and the pain associated with arthritis.


Recovery time after meniscus arthroscopy is generally very short, requiring only about 4 to 6 weeks. The joint can be moved almost immediately after surgery, although a certain amount of stiffness and pain is expected. Many minor surgeries can have the person walking in 3 to 4 days after surgery.

Meniscus arthroscopy is generally performed by sports persons and others who sustain damage to their knees and require very fast recovery times.

New research suggests that arthroscopy does not reduce pain or assist healing minor tears. Major complications that require more serious intervention are however a different thing. In the case of transplantations, it has been found to be very effective at reducing pain and increasing mobility.


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