Meniscus injuries are one of the most common knee injuries suffered by patients of all ages. The meniscus tear which generally happens either due to physical injuries or natural aging is treated and repaired by the orthopaedic surgeons, but not all the patients are fortunate enough to fully recover due to variety of medical reasons.
But in a major breakthrough, the surgery treatments of Meniscus tears have received a boost with the onset of Artificial Meniscus in to the medical world. What is Artificial Meniscus and how does it help the current knee treatment options? Read on to know:
Meniscus – The cushion to your knee joint:
The meniscus is a c-shaped cartilage structure that sits between the end of the femur and top of the tibia. The Meniscus functions as shock absorbers to cushion the knee joint of femur and tibia. Each knee joint has its own menisci placed to act as a cushion for the joints to protect them from wear and tear.
However, this meniscus can get torn during physical activities where sudden twists, pivots, heavy lifting or turns of the knee are commonplace. Most of the meniscus tears treated at our Joint and Sports Clinic in Surat, by Dr. Chirag Patel are from football, basketball, soccer, and tennis. Especially meniscus tears frequently occur in older athletes (>30) whose meniscus gets weak with age.
With increased participation in sports, Meniscus tears are also becoming common among the children too. People with Osteoarthritis suffer a higher risk of meniscus tear making elder people vulnerable to the meniscus tears. More than 43% of the people above age 60 are estimated to suffer from meniscus tears.
Treatment for Meniscus injuries – Surgery:
Current Treatment Options for meniscus injuries depend on the type and severity of the injury. While the minor tears are treated with non-surgical options like medications and physical therapy, moderate to large tears may need surgery. With surgery, the torn meniscus can be repaired and restored in a certain type of tears. If the tear is caused due to regular and wear and tear as it does in older patients, the meniscus cannot repair itself which requires the meniscus to be partially or completely removed.
While partial removal of meniscus helps repair and restore the meniscus function, complete removal can place undue stress on the joints accelerating arthritis. Though procedures like artificial implantation from the donor are available, the surgery can be complicated with the long road for recovery. So for the patients who are not candidates of knee replacement surgery and have no healthy meniscus, the artificial meniscus is a knee saver. These active implants made from polycarbonate-urethane, a medical grade plastic, mimics the human meniscus to cushion and redistribute the forces to the knee joints.
Today, these new artificial implants are sure to provide pain-free, medical relief to thousands of patients who continue to suffer in silence from meniscus injuries. Though these advanced artificial implants are yet not available in India, efforts are being undertaken to make them available to patients in India at the earliest.