Sports Medicine Specialist Performing Meniscus Surgery in Houston, TX
If you’ve been suffering from knee pain, don’t put off treatment any longer. K. Mathew Warnock, M.D., is a board-certified orthopedic sports medicine specialist, and he has experience performing meniscus surgery on hundreds of Houston area patients. Visit Dr. Warnock for a consultation regarding your knee pain to find out whether you require meniscus surgery or another form of treatment.
What Causes Meniscus Tears?
The menisci are discs of cartilage that connect the thighbones to the shinbones. They act as shock absorbers and increase stability for our legs. They aid activities such as bending, accelerating, decelerating, pivoting, and cutting.
Meniscus tears can be caused by activities ranging from sports to work. Heavy lifting and falls can also be contributing factors. You don’t need to be an athlete to have a meniscus tear. Any activity that causes you to twist or rotate your knee forcefully, especially when bearing your full weight, can cause a torn meniscus. Aging doesn’t help either; as you get older, knee cartilage weakens, increasing the chance of tears.
Meniscus Tear Symptoms
The most common symptoms of a meniscus tear include pain and a decrease in your range of motion. Many people also experience problems with their knees locking, catching, or giving out. Sometimes a popping sensation can be felt or heard in the knee. Patients may not notice meniscus symptoms immediately; in fact, many notice a gradual increase in pain and swelling over time.
Diagnosis Process for Meniscus Tears
When visiting Dr. Warnock to diagnose your meniscus tear, he will first discuss your symptoms and medical history. Next, Dr. Warnock will examine your knees to check for the most common symptoms of a torn meniscus. Any tenderness felt along the joint line or clicking noises produced when moving the knee will signal a meniscus tear.
The McMurray test, another standard technique for diagnosing a torn meniscus, may also be used. During this test, Dr. Warnock will bend and straighten your knee, and any tension caused by its rotation will generate a diagnostic clicking noise. Imaging with an MRI and X-ray scans may be used to confirm your diagnosis and expose any other problems affecting your knee movement, such as arthritis.
Meniscus Repair Procedure
Although some meniscus tears can heal by themselves, most require one of three types of meniscus tear surgery. The type of treatment used is dependent on the location of your tear, its size, and shape.
The first treatment option is an arthroscopic repair, where Dr. Warnock inserts an arthroscope into the meniscus tear to view the affected area. He then skillfully stitches the meniscus together, and the body will absorb the dart-like materials used to heal the cartilage. Because only 10% of meniscus tears can be repaired with this type of surgery, most treatment plans usually involve partial or total meniscus removal. Arthroscopic partial meniscectomy occurs when the doctor removes a piece of the torn meniscus. A total meniscectomy is only recommended in severe tears, where the doctor removes the entire torn meniscus.
Though some meniscus tears cannot be repaired, Dr. Warnock will do his best to help with your knee problems. These meniscus procedures typically take about an hour, and they’re normally done under anesthesia. Patients do not need to stay overnight at the hospital unless the doctor recommends it.
Preparing for Meniscus Tear Surgery
Before receiving surgical treatment for a meniscus tear, patients will need to take a few preparatory steps to allow for a smooth recovery. Crutches should be brought with patients on the day of their surgery for assistance walking afterward. In addition, patients will need to wear non-constricting pants that can fit over the post-surgical dressing. Patients should also make arrangements for a family member or friend to drive them to and from the procedure.
Recovering After Meniscus Surgery
Immediately following the procedure, patients should apply an icepack to the knee to subside pain and prevent swelling. During recovery, the treated knee should be elevated when resting, and crutches should be used when walking to prevent any unnecessary strain.
To ensure a full recovery, patients will also need to follow the doctor’s long-term rehabilitation plan, which may include wearing a brace to protect the knee. Dr. Warnock will remove the brace once the knee has sufficiently healed and movement is regained. Exercises can help restore lost mobility and rebuild the knee’s strength. Although physical therapy may be necessary for some situations, these exercises can typically be performed at home.
The recovery length varies depending on the patient, severity of the tear, and surgical procedure used, although most patients can expect at least one to two weeks of downtime.
Schedule an Appointment
If you experience pain or locking in your knee, Dr. Warnock may be able to help. As a sports medicine specialist, he understands the needs of his patients and wants to help you get back on your feet. Contact K. Mathew Warnock, M.D., in Houston, Texas, to fill out our form to schedule a meniscus surgery consultation.