The meniscus is a C-shaped cushion of cartilage in the knee joint. When people talk about "torn cartilage" in the knee, they are usually referring to a torn meniscus.
If the meniscus is so badly damaged that it cannot be repaired, it may need to be removed or trimmed out. This is called apartial meniscectomyand is often effective in relieving the pain of a meniscus tear.
When the meniscus is largely gone, however, persistent knee pain and or osteoarthritis can develop. For many older patients with this condition, a total or partial joint replacement might be the right option. But active people who are younger than 40 may be eligible for an alternative treatment: meniscal transplant surgery.
A meniscal transplant replaces the damaged meniscus with donor tissue matched for size.
Meniscal transplants are not right for everyone. If you already have arthritis in your knee, a meniscal transplant may not help you. For a select group of people, however, meniscal transplants can offer significant pain relief.
Meniscus Transplant Rehab
Immobilization.You will need to wear a knee brace and use crutches for the first 6 weeks after surgery. This gives the transplanted tissue time to become firmly attached to the bone. Range of motion is typically initiated as soon as possible after the procedure.
Physical therapy.Once the initial pain and swelling have settled down, physical therapy can begin. Physical therapy initially focuses on pain management, muscle reactivation, and motion. As healing progresses, strengthening exercises will gradually be added to your program.
Return to daily activities.Most patients are not able to return to work for at least 2 weeks after surgery. Patients with active or labor-intensive jobs may require 3 to 4 months of rehabilitation before they return to work. Full release for sports activity is typically given 9 to 12 months after surgery.
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