A variety of different types of meniscal tears can occur. Certain tears are suitable for meniscal repair and this is particularly the case in younger patients. A vast majority of tears, however, are best treated by trimming the tear. This is because the torn bit of meniscal cartilage irritates the joint causing swelling, pain and sometimes locking, clicking and giving way episodes. Furthermore, if left untreated, the torn bit of cartilage can irritate the articular cartilage causing a defect in this important cartilage in the vicinity of the tear.
What is Meniscal Trimming?
Meniscal trimming is performed arthroscopically (through key-hole surgery) involves trimming the torn bit of cartilage to remove it and leave a smooth meniscal rim to help reduce the chance of catching and another tear.
Patients are often concerned about how much meniscus will be removed. They can rest assured that only the damaged part of the meniscus will be removed, leaving as much good meniscus behind as possible. This contrasts to historical procedures which involved removal of almost the whole meniscus through an open operation.