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A meniscectomy is surgery to repair your meniscus, or remove any torn pieces. The meniscus is cartilage in your knee that acts like a shock absorber, and helps your knee move correctly.


Before your surgery:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
  • Anesthesia is medicine to make you comfortable during the surgery. Healthcare providers will work with you to decide which anesthesia is best for you.
    • General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. Anesthesia may be given through your IV. You may instead breathe it in through a mask or a tube placed down your throat. The tube may cause you to have a sore throat when you wake up.
    • Local anesthesia is a shot of medicine put into the area where your surgery will be done. It is used to numb the area and dull the pain. You may still feel pressure or pushing during surgery.

During your surgery:

  • You may have open knee surgery, arthroscopic surgery, or both. One or more incisions will be made in your knee. If you have arthroscopic surgery, your surgeon will put an arthroscope inside your knee. An arthroscope is a thin tube with a camera on the tip. Your surgeon will use the arthroscope and other small tools to look at and fix your meniscus.
  • Your surgeon may repair your meniscus with stitches or a device. He may remove all or part of your meniscus. Your surgeon may transplant a piece of donor meniscus into your knee to replace what has been removed. He may also fix other damage to bones, ligaments, tendons, or tissue during your surgery. The incision will be closed with stitches, adhesive tape, or bandages.

After your surgery:

You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. Healthcare providers will monitor you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. A clean dressing and an elastic wrap bandage may cover your stitches. When your healthcare provider sees that you are okay, you will be able to go home or be taken to your hospital room.

  • You may need to walk around the same day of surgery, or the day after. Movement will help prevent blood clots. You may also be given exercises to do in bed. Do not get out of bed on your own until your healthcare provider says you can. Talk to healthcare providers before you get up the first time. They may need to help you stand up safely. When you are able to get up on your own, sit or lie down right away if you feel weak or dizzy. Then press the call light button to let healthcare providers know you need help.
  • You may need to use a continuous passive motion (CPM) machine. Your leg may be put into a CPM machine right after surgery. The machine moves your leg back and forth very slowly without your having to use your muscles. This movement can help decrease pain and swelling, and may help your knee heal faster. Until you can get out of bed, leg exercises should be done with both legs. For example, draw circles in the air with your toes to keep your legs strong and stop blood clots from forming.
  • Deep breathing and coughing will decrease your risk for a lung infection. Take a deep breath and hold it for as long as you can. Let the air out and then cough strongly. Deep breaths help open your airway. You may be given an incentive spirometer to help you take deep breaths. Put the plastic piece in your mouth and take a slow, deep breath. Then let the air out and cough. Repeat these steps 10 times every hour.
  • Physical therapy may be needed. A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain.
  • You may need to wear pressure stockings or inflatable boots after surgery. The stockings are tight and put pressure on your legs. The boots have an air pump that tightens and loosens different areas of the boots. Both of these improve blood flow and help prevent clots.
  • Medicines:
    • Pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.
    • Antibiotics help prevent a bacterial infection.


  • You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. You may have trouble breathing or get blood clots. Your knee tissue and cartilage may be damaged during surgery. If you have a meniscus transplant, your meniscus may tear, shrink, or move out of place.
  • You may have continued pain or knee stiffness after surgery. You may develop joint disease, or the cartilage and bones in your knee may break down over time. You may need this surgery more than once, or you may need another type of knee surgery. Without this surgery, your knee problem may get worse.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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