- What is the meniscus?
- Menisci are C-shaped structures located in the knee joint. The meniscus, which has two in each knee, provides ease of movement in the knees. The menisci are located between the bones that make up the knee joint and are responsible for reducing the friction of the cartilage surfaces of the bones and distributing the loads on the joint in a balanced way. In short, the menisci are of great importance in maintaining the continuity of knee movement and cartilage quality.
- How does a meniscus tear occur?
- The way meniscus tears occur in young people and elderly people is different. Meniscus rupture in young people occurs as a result of serious trauma. Rotational movement on a fixed foot during sports such as football, basketball and skiing is the most common cause of meniscus tear. Menisci degenerate, losing their strength and flexibility as the person gets older. This causes the meniscus to tear more easily. Therefore, meniscus tear may occur in elderly people as a result of a simple squatting or getting stuck on a carpet.
- What are the symptoms?
- Pain that becomes evident during knee-bending movements such as going up and down stairs, using the toilet and praying
- Swelling or stiffness in the knee
- Difficulty straightening the knee
- The feeling of locking and snapping in the knee when moving
- Pricking pain in the inner or outer portion of the knee joint while walking.
- How is it diagnosed?
- While making the diagnosis of meniscus tear, first of all, in order to learn the form of the disease, an interview should be performed by the physician. Then, the knee joint is examined and special tests are performed. After a good interview and physical examination, the diagnosis of meniscal tear occurs to a great extent. The physician may also order an x-ray to evaluate the amount of wear and tear in the knee and to check if there is any other problem with the bones. The most reliable method in recent years to confirm the diagnosis of meniscal tears on the knee joint is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
- How is it treated?
- Meniscus tears cause cartilage wear and calcification in the future. Therefore, it must be treated. Elderly patients with complaints such as recurrent locking and idling are treated with arthroscopic method if their complaints do not regress with protective methods. In young people, the treatment of meniscal tears is mostly surgical. It is not possible for the menisci to heal on their own, except for some small tears that are very rare and not fully folded. In patients with obvious complaints, the meniscus tear is tried to be repaired by surgical intervention. If the tear is not suitable for repair, the torn part is removed.
- In elderly patients, meniscus tears are usually accompanied by arthrosis (wear, tear, calcification) in the knee. When this happens, only intervening in the meniscus tear may not completely solve the problem. In this case, the physician may choose to suppress the symptoms with drug therapy, intra-articular injections, arthroscopic surgery or bone correction surgeries with arthroscopy.
- What is the arthroscopy method?
- Previously meniscus tears treatment was performed with open surgeries. Recently arthroscopy, which is a closed method, is taking place. During arthroscopy surgery performed by opening a small hole in the knee, a camera device is inserted through this hole. Because of the camera, the damaged area can be visualized and the torn part is removed. Arthroscopy surgery usually performed under local anesthesia between 30 minutes and two hours. Since a large incision is not made, the patient can be quickly healed and return back to his daily life shortly.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mesut TAHTA
Orthopedics and Traumatology