The menisci are made of fibrocartilage and act as shock absorbers for the joint. They have a blood supply on the outer third, with the inner portion of the meniscus not having any blood supply. In addition, the inner portion is much thinner than the thicker outer portion, which attaches to the joint lining. For this reason, tears of the inner portion of the meniscus, which does not have a blood supply, almost always have to be resected. In these circumstances, a partial meniscectomy is necessary to remove the torn portion of the meniscus that is causing pain.
Description of Partial Meniscectomy
The technique of partial meniscectomy is performed arthroscopically. In these circumstances, the torn portion of the meniscus is resected with an attempt to try to preserve and sculpt as much of the remaining meniscus to both try and leave as much shock-absorbing capacity as possible, but also to try to minimize the chance of a re-tear.
The surgical technique involves making 2 small incisions on either side of the patellar tendon, with one being used for the arthroscopic camera and the second being used for the arthroscopic instruments. The meniscus tear is trimmed down and “saucerized” in order to remove any edges which could catch in the joint and cause further pain, but at the same point in time trying to preserve as much meniscus as possible.