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Ask the doctor: How should I treat a torn meniscus?

June 1, 2013

Q. An MRI of my knee shows I have a torn medial meniscus and mild osteo­arthritis. What treatment options should I consider?

A. A torn meniscus is a common cause of knee pain, and meniscal tears are especially common in people with osteoarthritis (OA). Menisci are small cartilage pads within the knee that help pad the bones in the joint and provide smooth knee motion. Meniscal tears may cause knee pain in people with OA. If you have knee pain and both conditions are detected, it is common to attribute the pain to the meniscal tear and to recommend surgical repair through an arthroscope. A surgeon inserts the scope and instruments into the knee joint through tiny incisions and trims the torn meniscus in a procedure called partial meniscectomy. Whether this approach results in better function has been debated.

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