Meniscus is a soft rubber – like c-shaped cushion. It helps in load sharing across the knee. There are two problems :
- one it degenerates (become weak) with age and
- two it tears due to injury.
Torn meniscus becomes a ‘misfit’ in the joint and gives rise to mechanical symptoms such as locking, catching, clicking etc. Over a period of time, these mechanical symptoms cause damage to soft covering (cartilage) over the bones. This is called osteoarthritis and is irreversible damage to the joint.
Till a few decades back it was considered a vestigial structure, and was removed. Recent trend is to save the meniscus. A small tear can heal itself. A bigger tear whenever possible is sutured and if suturing is not possible partial menissectory done. This surgery is done by key-hole technique(arthroscopy)/ and takes 15 – 20 minutes to do the job.