Cartilage and Meniscus Transplant2016-10-12T12:39:55-04:00

Cartilage and Meniscus Transplant

knee arthroscopy Blacksburg VA

Torn cartilage in the knee is most often associated with the meniscus. If the meniscus is badly damaged and cannot be repaired, it may need to be removed or trimmed away. The meniscus acts like a cushion between the thigh bone and the shin bone. The knee is also the most weight bearing joint in the body. Without this cushion, ongoing knee pain, as well as osteoarthritis may develop.

For patients generally younger than 55 with an active lifestyle, an alternative procedure can be recommended, a meniscal transplant. A meniscal transplant replaces the worn cartilage with donor cartilage and is successful at relieve knee pain and restoring function.

What is a meniscal transplant?

The menisci perform a critically important job in the knee to provide stability, to act as a cushion against compressive loads, and to ensure overall joint health. Generally, a surgeon should repair a meniscal tear whenever possible. In some cases, however, the menisci may be irreparable and a large part needs to be removed.

Meniscal transplantation is a reasonable option in young, active patients with symptomatic meniscal deficiency following the removal of a large portion of the meniscus. Meniscal transplantation is indicated in patients < 40 years old with an absent or non-functioning meniscus. The patient has pain on the side of the deficient meniscus, swelling, and has difficulty with activities of daily living or sports.

If transplantation is indicated, either a medial or lateral meniscal allograft is obtained from a donor. The surgical procedure is performed arthroscopically where the meniscus is then sutured into place.

Post Surgical Expectations

Patients are partial weight-bearing for 6 weeks after surgery and it is highly recommended that patients meet with a physical therapist for 4-6 months after surgery to work on motion, strength, and neuromuscular control. The meniscal transplantation procedure has been shown to relieve pain and restore knee stability. Recent studies have shown high graft survival at an average of 5 years post transplantation. Patients can expect to return to sports usually within 6-9 months after surgery.

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