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Child Orthopedics
Spine - Cervical
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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I just had a repair of a torn meniscus in my knee. I'm doing my rehab as prescribed but I'm worried that I might overdo it and pull the stitches out. Just how strong is the repaired meniscus?

Studies of meniscal strength can only be done on cadavers (human bodies preserved for study). So there may be some differences between lab results and the human body.

Most of the studies so far have shown the strength of the repaired meniscus is still greater than would ever be applied to the knee during everyday activities.

Repair systems vary and include sutures or implants. The materials of the sutures also varies. Implants are usually absorbed by the body over time. For larger tears, the surgeon may use a combination of sutures and implants. This is called a hybrid fixation technique. It's not clear yet how strong this method is.

Researchers report that distraction forces have been the biggest focus of study. Shear forces, which are more likely to cause meniscal tears, are not as easy to reproduce in a lab. The movement includes rotation with the foot planted and weight through the knee. Flexion angle of the joint may make a difference, too.

An unexpected, fast movement with torque (twist) while in the standing position is the mechanism most likely to cause re-injury. In the young athlete, returning to sports too early is a risk factor. For older adults, slipping on ice or getting in the way of a fast moving dog are the most common links to meniscal reinjury.

The first six to eight weeks are the most important during the healing process. It's likely that if you follow your rehab program, you won't be in any danger of disrupting the sutures.


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