Depending on the location of the tear, a repair may be possible. In the outer third of the meniscus, an adequate blood supply exists and a repair will likely heal. Usually younger patients are more resilient and respond well to this treatment, while older, more sedentary patients do not have a favorable outcome after a repair. "There's potential harm of the operation, and there's some data to suggest it might increase progression of the disease and lead to earlier joint replacement."
The meniscus has fewer vessels and blood flow towards the unattached, thin interior edge. In the majority of cases, the tear is far away from the meniscus' blood supply, and a repair is unlikely to heal. In these cases arthroscopic surgery allows for a partial meniscectomy, removing the torn tissue and allowing the knee to function with some of the meniscus missing. In situations where the meniscus is damaged beyond repair or has been partially removal, a total meniscectomy is performed. This option is usually avoided at all costs as total meniscectomy leads to an increased risk of osteoarthritis (with loss of cartilage) and eventual total knee replacement. In some cases, a meniscus replacement is performed to prevent this.
According to new research from Finnish researchers it has been found that Knee arthroscopic surgery is often unnecessary and might not be effective in most of the cases. Researchers found that repairing meniscal cartilage in the knee is no more effective than a placebo.
Meniscus transplants are accomplished successfully regularly, although it is still somewhat of a rare procedure and many questions surrounding its use remain. Side effects of meniscectomy include:
The knee loses its ability to transmit and distribute load and absorb mechanical shock.
Persistent and significant swelling and stiffness in the knee.
The knee may be not be fully mobile, there may be the sensation of knee locking or buckling in the knee.
The full knee may be in full motion after tear of meniscus
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