The meniscus is a C-shaped piece of cartilage in the knee joint. This cartilage acts as a shock absorber for the knee joint during physical activity. MayoClinic.com states that any activity that causes a patient to forcefully twist or rotate the knee can lead to a torn meniscus. A torn meniscus can cause swelling, pain, clicking and popping in the affected knee joint. This injury is commonly treated conservatively, but surgery may be required. A patient undergoing a meniscal repair surgery should understand the possible surgical complications 1.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) states that infection is a risk of meniscal surgery 1. In the case of a meniscal transplant surgery, the risk of contracting HIV from a meniscal transplant is one in 1.6 million 1. Other possible sources of infection include the patient’s skin, surgical tool or other objects in the operating room. Thus, extreme care is taken in sterilizing the skin before surgery. Furthermore, surgeons sterilize all surgical tools and other instruments on or near the surgical site. Signs of infection that a patient should be aware of include excessive redness, warmth, swelling and drainage. An infection may spread to the rest of the body and cause fever, chills or night sweats. Thus, early treatment of infection with antibiotics is necessary to prevent further complications.
- The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) states that infection is a risk of meniscal surgery 1.
- Signs of infection that a patient should be aware of include excessive redness, warmth, swelling and drainage.
Complications From Arthroscopic Knee Surgery
Excessive bleeding is a risk of meniscal surgery, states the AAOS 1. This occurs because blood vessels may be damaged during surgery that can lead to significant internal or external bleeding. Furthermore, patients that take blood-thinning medications, such as aspirin, clopidogrel or warfarin are at risk of excessive bleeding during or after surgery. Signs of excessive bleeding include swelling of the joint, excessive pain, redness or blood oozing from the surgical site. A patient should not hesitate to let his surgeon know of any bleeding that is occurring after surgery.
- Excessive bleeding is a risk of meniscal surgery, states the AAOS 1.
- Furthermore, patients that take blood-thinning medications, such as aspirin, clopidogrel or warfarin are at risk of excessive bleeding during or after surgery.
In rare cases, a nerve that surrounds the knee may be damaged during meniscal surgery 1. The major nerves that run into the lower leg pass in the back of the knee. Thus, patients receiving surgical repair may be at a slightly higher risk. Signs of nerve damage include excessive pain in the knee or in the lower limb, difficulty walking, difficulty using muscles in the foot or difficulty using muscles in the lower leg. Nerve damage may be repaired if treated early; thus, a patient should not hesitate to let her doctor know of any problems that she may be experiencing.
- In rare cases, a nerve that surrounds the knee may be damaged during meniscal surgery 1.
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- AAOS: Meniscal Transplant Surgery
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Meniscus Tears. Updated March 2014.
- Katz JN, Chaisson CE, Cole B, et al. The MeTeOR trial (Meniscal Tear in Osteoarthritis Research): rationale and design features. Contemp Clin Trials. 2012;33(6):1189–1196. doi:10.1016/j.cct.2012.08.010
- Chambers HG, Chambers RC. The Natural History of Meniscus Tears. J Pediatr Orthop. 2019;39(Issue 6, Supplement 1 Suppl 1):S53-S55. doi:10.1097/BPO.0000000000001386
- Englund M, Guermazi A, Roemer FW, et al. Meniscal tear in knees without surgery and the development of radiographic osteoarthritis among middle-aged and elderly persons: The Multicenter Osteoarthritis Study. Arthritis Rheum. 2009;60(3):831–839. doi:10.1002/art.24383
As a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician I have extensive experience in musculoskeletal/neurological medicine that will benefit the network.