What is the meniscus?
The meniscus is a rubbery cushion in the knee. The meniscus consists of two menisci one at the inner and one at the outer edge of the knee. They protect the joint and keep the knee steady by balancing weight across the joint.
How is the meniscus damaged?
The meniscus is most often damaged by a tear when the knee is suddenly jerked or twisted in an abnormal direction. This occurs when a person is lifting something heavy or playing a sport when they squat or twist the knee. Injury can also occur during tackles in contact sports. When a patient has a severely torn meniscus or several tears requiring removal of the meniscus, they may have little to no functioning meniscus. In these cases, knee osteoarthritis develops much more rapidly.
What is a meniscus transplant?
In order to help prevent early onset arthritis of the knee, the padding must be replaced. The meniscus will come from a cadaver donor with similar knee shape and size. The donor tissue with be placed and secured with minimally invasive arthroscopic techniques.
The patient’s lower limb alignment will be determined prior to surgery. Often, the alignment causes unequal stress across the joint and can be a cause of the injury. In such cases, an osteotomy, or precise cutting of the bone, is needed to restore a more normal alignment to help to long term success of the meniscus.