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Child Orthopedics
Spine - Cervical
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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Is it possible to get a meniscus replacement like you get a knee replacement? Mine are shot and I heard that having them removed is a bad idea.

You are correct that meniscus removal is no longer the first approach to meniscal tears or damage. Whenever possible, the surgeon tries to repair the damage. This may mean shaving any frayed edges or stitching down corners that have lifted up. But when the meniscus is shredded to pieces or has large holes where chunks of meniscal material have worn through or pulled away, then it may be necessary to remove the meniscus altogether. And long-term studies have, indeed, shown that removing the meniscus is linked with the development of early osteoarthritis. Efforts are being made to find ways to regenerate body tissues of all kinds including tendons, bone, and cartilage. An actual meniscus replacement is being studied but it's not available yet for use in the general population. The implants under investigation are called nondegradable synthetic menisci. They are made of a composite material reinforced with polyethylene (plastic) fiber. Researchers are still looking for ways to match the mechanics of the synthetic implant with the natural meniscus. Two types of implant are being tried: one that has to be inserted and held in place and another that is free-floating. It's not clear when a "meniscus replacement" of this type might be on the market.


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