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Meniscus surgery removes or fixes the cartilage (meniscus) between the bones in the knee. Each knee has two of these rubbery pads of cartilage, one on either side. Meniscus repair is usually done with arthroscopic surgery. Your doctor put a lighted tube—called an arthroscope or scope—and other surgical tools through small cuts (incisions) in your knee. The incisions leave scars that usually fade in time.
You will feel tired for several days. Your knee will be swollen, and you may have numbness around the cuts the doctor made (incisions) on your knee. You can put ice on the knee to reduce swelling. Most of this will go away in a few days. You should soon start seeing improvement in your knee.
You may be able to return to most of your regular activities within a few weeks. But it will be several months before you have complete use of your knee. It may take as long as 6 months before your knee is strong enough for hard physical work or certain sports. You will need to build your strength and the motion of your joint with rehabilitation (rehab) exercises. In time, your knee will likely be stronger and more stable than it was before the surgery.
How soon you can return to sports or exercise depends on what type of surgery you had, how well you follow your rehab program, and how well your knee heals. Your doctor or physiotherapist will give you an idea of when you can return to these activities. If you had a partial meniscectomy, you might be able to play sports in about 4 to 6 weeks. If you had meniscus repair, it may be 3 to 6 months before you can play sports.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for any changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: March 2, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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