If you have damaged or torn knee cartilage, this advancement in arthroscopic surgery can help. This surgery can decrease knee pain and prevent loss of lifestyle and activity due to osteoarthritis.
Meniscal allograft transplantation is a type of surgery in which a new meniscus, a cartilage ring in the knee, is placed into your knee. The new meniscus is harvested from a deceased donor.
Thanks to controlled freezing of the donor tissue, physicians can perform a meniscal allograft transplant.
Who Should Have Meniscal Allograft?
There are two cartilage rings in the center of each knee, one on the inside (medial meniscus) and one on the outside (lateral meniscus). When a meniscus is torn, it is commonly removed by knee arthroscopy. Some people still have pain after the meniscus is removed.
The meniscus transplant is only done in cases of tears that are so severe that all or nearly all of the meniscus cartilage has to be removed. The new meniscus can alleviate knee pain and possibly prevent future arthritis.
If your doctor finds that you are a good candidate for a meniscus transplant, X-rays or MRI of your knee are usually taken to find a meniscus that will fit your knee.
About Meniscal Allograft Surgery
This outpatient surgery requires no overnight stay. The meniscus transplant is usually performed by knee arthroscopy with very small incisions. When arthroscopy is performed, a camera is inserted into your knee and is connected to a video monitor.
First, the surgeon will check the cartilage and ligaments of your knee. Then, the surgeon will confirm that a meniscus transplant is appropriate and that you don’t have severe arthritis of the knee.
The new meniscus will be prepared to fit your knee correctly. If any tissue remains from your old meniscus, it will be removed and then the new meniscus will be inserted.
Recovery After Surgery
After the surgery, you will wear a knee brace for the first four weeks. You also may need crutches for three days to six weeks. Pain is usually managed with medications.
Physical therapy will help you regain the motion and strength of your knee. Therapy lasts for between one to six months.
How soon you can return to work will depend on your job, but it can take anywhere from one to four weeks. Most people have to wait between one to six months to fully return to activities and sports such as golf, swimming and running.