If you have a torn meniscus you may have come to the decision to have surgery. I try to explain what that involves to each patient. No one wants surgery but sometimes the situation is best treated with arthroscopy. I try to explain the general details of the procedure to each patient. Here is a review of what we discuss:
- This is an outpatient procedure so you go home the same day.
- We will complete some paperwork including a review of your medical history (please be prepared to explain your medicines, allergies, and any medical conditions).
- We will choose a date and call you the day before and remind you what time to show up. It is often early in the morning, which is a good thing since you can’t eat anything after midnight the night before.
- We will also give you prescriptions to get filled before your procedure for medicine you may need for discomfort after your surgery. This way you don’t have to go to the pharmacy the day of your surgery.
- We often will try to set up an initial physical therapy program for your rehab to begin a few days after your arthroscopy. (Be prepared for a phone call from therapy before your procedure)
- When you show up for your procedure you will meet the nursing and anesthesia team and your medical history will be reviewed. The anesthesiologist will explain how they will put you to sleep. After an IV and some paperwork I will sign your knee and you are off to sleep.
- After cleaning your knee we will make two small incisions on the front of your knee and use a small camera about the size of a writing pen to examine the inside of the knee.
- I will perform a systematic exam of all the structures in the knee not just the torn meniscus. So I can address any other issues at the same time.
- After this I will use arthroscopic instruments to trim or repair the torn meniscus depending on the character of the tear and your individual situation.
- When we are done the small incisions will be closed with a couple of stitches and a bandage wrapped around the knee, a compressive stocking will be pulled up over the knee to hold the bandage. this stocking prevents swelling and blood clots too. It should stay on for the first 36 hours.
What happens after the surgery?
- After your torn meniscus surgery, you will stay for about half an hour to “wake up”. There will be some mild discomfort and you will receive medicine that can quickly control this pain through your IV.
- When comfortable you will be wheeled to your car for someone to drive you home (you must have someone else take you home after a surgical procedure). It is also good to have some one who can speak with me after the surgery so I can explain what was performed and any special instructions.
- You will be provided crutches or a walker if you need them
- You will be given post-operative instructions to follow
This is a typical recap of surgery for a torn meniscus. There may always be some variation depending on your individual situation. I will cover what to do when you go home in another post. If you have questions about surgery for a torn meniscus let’s talk. I hope sharing this and other discussions will make you more comfortable with procedures for you.
Dr. Jones IV