Knee Pain After Meniscus Surgery

Many people have meniscus tears, some do not even know it.  Most patients can get by without meniscus surgery.  Occasionally you will have persistent pain that interferes with your quality of life and you choose to have an arthroscopy, which is the most common means of performing meniscus surgery.   While the success rate of menisucs surgery is typically very high, there are a number of reasons why you may still have pain after meniscus surgery.   This video goes into many of the possible causes… and the transcript is provided below for those who choose to read the discussion instead. 

 

Transcript: Knee Pain After Meniscus Surgery

I’m Dr. Howard Luks.  One of the questions I most frequently receive in the office is “why does my knee hurt after I’ve had meniscus surgery for my meniscus tear?”  Well, the answer can be complicated and not often straight forward.  There are some easy answers and there are some not so easy answers.

First off is that the meniscus tears we see on MRIs are not always a cause of our pain.  How is that? Well, if we MRI a significant number of people in their 50s and 60s, yet they have no knee pain, we’re going to find a fair number of meniscus tears in them.  That means that not all meniscus tears hurt.  So the meniscus tear may not have been your source of pain to begin with.

Second; osteoarthritis, osteoarthritis is the loss of cartilage on the ends of your bones.  If you have arthritis and you have a meniscus tear, then the arthritis maybe severe enough that you’re not going to obtain any relief of pain if the meniscus tear was dealt with. As a matter of fact (in cases where both osteoarthritis and meniscus tears are present), sometimes your pain can get worse because of something that we call a stress fracture or a stress reaction.  That’s where – because a portion of the meniscus has been removed, the bones around the knee joint “see” more stress when you walk and they react by becoming very inflamed and can actually at it’s worse, cause a stress fracture which is quite painful.  That’s commonly seen in people about 10 days to two weeks after surgery when they see an increase in their pain.  Unfortunately it’s impossible to predict who this is going to occur in …  however it is far more common in women in their fifth and sixth decades and beyond. 

Other reasons for – for knee pain after meniscus surgery is the fact that there is a retained piece or maybe the tear was fixed and the sutures have not held and the repair failed.

So, there are many reasons why you may still have pain following surgery for a meniscus tear.  Some of it may be simple to explain.  Some of it may not be simple to explain.  A new MRI maybe necessary or a new opinion maybe necessary, that ultimately is up to you.

I hope you have a great day.  Bye.

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