Meniscectomy: indications, procedure, outcomes, and rehabilitation
Hermann Anetzberger,1 Christof Birkenmaier,2 Stephan Lorenz3
1Orthopädische Gemeinschaftspraxis am OEZ, Munich, Germany; 2Department of Orthopedics, Ludwig-Maximilian-University Munich, Munich, Germany; 3Department of Orthopedic Sports Medicine, Technical University of Munich, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Munich, Germany
Abstract: Meniscal injuries are among the most frequent reasons for knee problems. The goal of this manuscript is to review the biomechanical relevance of the human knee's menisci in relation to surgical indications, surgical techniques, rehabilitation, and outcomes. In order to identify the relevant literature, we performed a PubMed search for the years ranging from 1980–2013 using the following search terms: meniscus; biomechanical function; meniscectomy; meniscal repair; and clinical outcome. The meniscus helps to distribute the forces between the tibial and femoral articular cartilage layers in a load-sharing capacity. Meniscus damage or meniscectomy intuitively leads to an overloading of the cartilage and, hence, to the development of osteoarthrosis. Precise knowledge of meniscal shape and function, of the type of injury, of surgical techniques, as well as of postsurgical rehabilitative care are of decisive importance for an individually-adjusted treatment strategy. Other underlying coexisting knee pathologies also need to be considered. The diagnosis of a meniscal injury is based upon clinical history, physical examination, and imaging studies. The treatment of a meniscal lesion includes conservative, as well as operative, procedures. The goals of surgery are to reduce pain and disability, as well as to preserve meniscal function without causing additional cartilage damage. The resection of meniscal tissue should be restricted to as much as is necessary, and as little as is reasonably possible. Postoperative rehabilitation serves the purpose of improving functional deficits and pain, as well as of restoring a good range of motion and preventing secondary damage. It is the surgical therapy that dictates the aftercare, and with regards to the latter, there are clear differences between meniscectomy and meniscal repair.
Keywords: meniscectomy, osteoarthritis, meniscus pathology, meniscus function
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