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1089 Spadina Road
Toronto, AL M5N 2M7
Ph: 416-483-2654
Fax: 416-483-2654

Child Orthopedics
Spine - Cervical
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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I didn't want to sound like a dummy in the doctor's office but what's the big deal about repairing a torn meniscus instead of just cutting it out? It's killing me and I just want it gone. The surgeon insists that we must try and save the cartilage if at all possible. I'm 66-years old and I'm not planning any marathons.

Taking a quick look at the anatomy of the meniscus, we find that it is a C-shaped disk of fibrous cartilage between the tibia (lower leg bone) and the femur (thigh bone). There are two menisci: one on each side of the knee joint. The medial meniscus (along the inside of the knee closest to the other leg) is torn most often. The lateral meniscus (along the outside of the knee away from the other leg) is injured less often. The menisci have several functions. They help spread the load from forces directed from the foot up through the knee and into the hip. They act as mini-shock absorbers while lubricating the joint and helping the joint surfaces slide and glide smoothly against each other. Without these fibrocartilage disks, the knee is less stable and more likely to give way underneath the person. An unstable knee is at increased risk for another injury. Even at age 66, the optimistic view is that those knees may have to last another 40 years! based on the average lifespan of American adults today, in all likelihood, you'll need them for another 20 years at least. Saving the cartilage can protect you from advancing, degenerative knee arthritis and delay the need for a total knee replacement. There are plenty of studies to support your surgeon's treatment plan. Repair and restoration of the knee to as normal as possible preserves the biomechanics and function of the joint. Preventing long-term problems later is the goal. We never know where our paths will take us. You may not appreciate the need to save the meniscus now but years ahead, the value of such a plan may become more obvious. Who knows? You may even start running marathons! It's been known to happen in adults in their 70s and 80s.


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