by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
A meniscectomy is the removal of all or part of the cartilage in the knee joint.
Reasons for Procedure
A meniscectomy is done when the cartilage is damaged. This can cause pain and limit motion in the knee.
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will review potential problems, such as:
Things that may raise the risk of problems are:
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
General anesthesia will block pain and keep you asleep. Regional anesthesia may be used to numb the lower part of the body.
Description of the Procedure
There are two ways to do this surgery. Arthroscopy uses a small incision. Open surgery uses a larger incision, but it is not as common. Other repairs may also be done during surgery.
Small incisions are made around the knee. Special tools are inserted into the knee joint. A tiny camera will provide a view of the inside of the knee. All or part of the meniscus will be removed to make smoother surfaces. A drain may be left in to allow extra fluid to flow out. The incisions are closed with stitches.
A larger incision is made over the knee joint. All or part of the meniscus will be removed to make smoother surfaces. A drain may be left in to allow extra fluid to flow out. The incision is closed with stitches.
How Long Will It Take?
Less than 1 hour
How Much Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia will block pain during surgery. There will be pain during recovery. Medicine and home care can help.
At the Care Center
After the procedure, the staff will:
It will take 3 to 6 weeks for the incision and knee joint to fully heal. Exercises will help with recovery. Some physical activities will need to be limited. Help will be needed to do daily tasks.
Antibiotics may be needed before dental procedures and surgeries. This helps lower the risk of infection in the new joint.
Call Your Doctor
Call the doctor if you are not getting better or you have:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Arthroscopy. Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed March 27, 2018.
Frank RM, Cole BJ. Meniscus transplantation. Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med. 2015 Dec;8(4):443-450.
Knee arthroscopy. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated September 2016. Accessed March 27, 2018.
Management of meniscus tears. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/management-of-meniscus-tears . Updated October 31, 2019. Accessed March 30, 2020.
Last reviewed February 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Teresa Briedwell, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS
Last Updated: 3/30/2020
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