What Happens During a Torn Knee Cartilage Surgery?


Quick Answer

During surgery for torn knee cartilage, an incision is made on the skin of the knee to give surgeons access to the damaged cartilage, notes WebMD. The torn cartilage is then repaired using anchors or stitches. Minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery is also a common treatment option.

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Full Answer

Before treatment, doctors examine the affected knee and discuss the patient's medical history, notes the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Imaging tests using MRIs, X-rays and similar imaging technologies may be recommended in certain cases. If the tears are small, no surgery is required. Instead, patients are required to follow the RICE protocol: rest, use ice packs several times a day on the damaged knee, wear a compression bandage, and elevate the affected leg during rest.

If the tears are large, normal surgery or arthroscopic surgery is the typical treatment option, notes the AAOS. Arthroscopic procedures are conducted using miniaturized surgical instruments inserted through incisions on the knee. The same openings are used to insert tiny cameras that allow surgeons to see their way around the inside of the affected knee. Torn cartilage is treated by either trimming away torn tissue or by stitching together damaged pieces. After surgery, the knee is placed in a brace or a cast for a certain period of time. Once this period is over, rehabilitative exercises start.

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