What are the Risks Associated with Meniscectomy?

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A meniscectomy can be defined as the removal of either all or part of a meniscus through surgery. This happens when the meniscus is torn, one of the most common knee joint injuries in the world today. 

Image source: https://pixabay.com/photos/injury-knee-football-foul-6566222/ 

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The decision to go through surgery, performed by orthopedic surgeons, is based on the age of the patient, their activity level, health, and how fast they can heal. The surgeons will suggest the best form of treatment based on the location of the tear as well as the other factors above.

The menisci act as the knee joint’s shock absorbers. They are very essential when it comes to the stability and the normal gait of the knee. Unfortunately, there are times when a meniscus tear cannot be repaired. 

This happens when there is a poor blood supply to the meniscus. That notwithstanding, do you know the risks associated with a meniscectomy?

Risks Associated with Meniscectomy

Every surgical procedure has some risks associated with it. Fortunately for people going through meniscectomy, new techniques and technologies have been introduced to ease the pain that comes with a meniscus repair surgery and reduce the risks that patients might be exposed to. Some of the common risks include;

Muscle Weaknesses

One of the most common risks that people who go through this surgical procedure are exposed to is muscle weaknesses. However, this does not happen immediately after healing, but mostly later in life.

Even though most patients do not have any complications through the recovery process, a bigger percentage of them have shown signs of strength deficits on their quadriceps, a decrease in their physical functioning, and overloading of their knee joint, something caused by muscle weaknesses.

However, you can work your way through this risk by ensuring that you get a therapy regimen immediately after having a meniscectomy. This helps in addressing the deficits in strength as well as physical activity limitations. 

Therapy also helps in reducing pain after surgery, the recovery of the quadriceps, and the restoration of joint motion.

Leads to Altering of Gait Mechanics

Another risk associated with meniscectomy is the altering of gait mechanics. This is caused by a lack of or reduced meniscus support. Some people who have gone through meniscectomy have developed increased rotation when walking. This, in turn, overloads the cartilage.

With the increased rotation when walking, these people are at risk of getting thin cartilage. The thinner the cartilage is, the more difficult it is for it to hold a lot of force. This is because it is the main source of loading in the joint. At the end of it, these patients might end up developing arthritis.

In addition, these changes lead to a reduction in knee motion compared to the contralateral limbs. However, as mentioned above, patients can avoid these risks through physical therapy after their surgery. 

These changes in joint kinematics are dangerous and can lead to serious problems later in life.

Leads to the Development of Osteoarthritis

People who have gone through a meniscectomy can also develop osteoarthritis, although this happens later in life. Osteoarthritis can be defined as a disease that attacks the articular cartilage joint. This disease is degenerative, something that makes it even more dangerous.

Some of the most common symptoms of this disease include cartilage hypertrophy and maturation, the formation of a bone spur, and the erosion and degeneration of the cartilage matrix. 

Due to its danger, you are likely to see many disabled people who, in their early lives, had undergone a meniscectomy.

Unfortunately, once you get this disease, you will not find any medication or forms of surgery to treat, slow down, or even prevent it. The cartilage lesions cannot be repaired as well, even through surgery. 

The only way through which patients can manage osteoarthritis is through the treatment of inflammation and pain. It can also be managed through joint replacements, viscosupplementation, corticosteroid injections, and exercise.

Conclusion

The most important thing to think about after undergoing a meniscectomy is rehabilitation. 

The choice of rehabilitation that a patient chooses is dictated by their health status, age, activities they can engage in, what their surgeon prefers, the surgery procedure, and the level of injury they had.

In addition, the time one takes through rehabilitation varies. However, after the surgery, one is required to walk, rest, exercise, and of course, choose a form of rehabilitation. 

Even though there might be risks associated with meniscectomy, modern technology is making it easier and reducing the risks.

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