Private  meniscectomy surgery

Meniscectomy surgery is a minimally invasive treatment for a torn meniscus when non-surgical options aren't effective. 

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Our knee specialists can provide the most effective care for your knee pain:

  • Consultant appointments confirmed within one working day
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  • Rated excellent or good by 97% of orthopaedic patients

What is arthroscopic meniscectomy surgery?

You have two menisci or cartilage pads in each knee: medial on the inside edge and lateral on the outside edge. These rubbery, C-shaped tissues act as shock absorbers and help distribute weight, but sometimes they can tear due to trauma or wear. Meniscectomy surgery removes damaged meniscus cartilage in your knee to help reduce pain and swelling and improve your mobility.

It's typically performed as an arthroscopic (keyhole) procedure, a minimally invasive technique for faster and less painful recovery. A surgeon uses tiny tools and a camera known as an arthroscope to see inside your knee and remove the damaged cartilage, preserving as much healthy cartilage as possible before closing the incision.

This is known as a partial meniscectomy. In less severe cases affecting the outer part of your meniscus, a surgeon could repair a tear with sutures, while for larger tears they may have to remove the whole meniscus, though this is less common. Your surgeon will assess your tear and factors such as your age, activity levels and pain to judge which method is most appropriate.

When would I need meniscectomy surgery?

You can tear your meniscus at any age. It's a common, painful injury that can be caused by sudden trauma, such as heavy lifting, twists and collisions in sports, or degenerative wear. Degenerative tears are more common in older patients as your menisci weaken with age.

Common symptoms of a meniscus tear include:

  • Sharp knee pain (occurring suddenly after trauma or gradually due to degenerative wear)
  • Swelling around your knee
  • Instability in your knee joint, causing it to buckle and give way
  • A locking sensation and difficulty straightening your leg caused by fragments of your meniscus sticking out into the joint

Some meniscus tears heal on their own with the aid of conservative measures such as rest, pain medication, physical therapy and injections. However, this isn't guaranteed as the area has a limited blood supply, sometimes making further medical intervention necessary. 

You may be recommended a knee meniscectomy if your tear is significant, the symptoms are limiting your daily life, and non-surgical treatments have limited impact.

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Types of meniscal tears

Meniscal tears are categorised in different ways based on the location and nature of the tear. Some types such as incomplete tears, which occur over time, are unlikely to need surgery, whereas types that can eventually require meniscectomy surgery include:

Radial tear: More common on the inner part of cartilage, your medial meniscus, starting from the centre of it and extending out

Horizontal tear: Running from the top to the bottom of the cartilage's C-shape 

Bucket-handle tear: A crescent-shaped cut that forms in the cartilage, in some cases causing loose cartilage to get lodged in the knee joint 

Oblique tear: Often known as a 'flap' tear, characterised by a catching sensation due to creating flaps in the meniscus which become irritated by movement in your knee joint 

Complex tear: A combination of multiple tear types, which can increase their severity 

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Get effective care for your knee pain

Our specialists can diagnose and treat your knee pain without delay. Get in touch and we'll confirm your appointment within 24 hours.

Arthroscopic meniscectomy surgery FAQs

Meniscectomy surgery aims to remove or, where possible, repair any damaged meniscus cartilage in your knee. Your consultant will discuss likely outcomes with you before you decide to go ahead. The key benefits are:

  • Reducing or eliminating your knee pain
  • Restoring your knee's range of motion, eliminating any locking sensation Improving your stability
  • Getting you back to your everyday activities, including exercise and sport

Arthroscopic meniscectomy is also a minimally invasive procedure that requires smaller incisions than open surgery, helping you recover faster.

Meniscectomy surgery is a common and effective treatment that you'll only be recommended if there are clear benefits for you. Like all surgeries, it also comes with some potential risks, which your consultant will explain to you and our experienced team will take steps to minimise. Rare complications include:

  • Infection around your incision
  • A blood clot, known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which can be avoided through movement and elevation after surgery
  • Nerve damage
  • Some people can also have bad reactions to anaesthesia, such as sickness

Having a total meniscectomy can make you more prone to developing osteoarthritis in your knee in the long term due to losing more cartilage. Your surgeon will aim to preserve as much healthy tissue as possible. Leaving a severe meniscus tear untreated also increases your risk of developing osteoarthritis due to increased cartilage wear.

Before the procedure, your consultant will suggest an MRI to examine your knee and decide the best procedure for you. They'll explain their recommendation and answer any questions you may have.

If your surgery is going to be performed under general anaesthetic, the most common option for this procedure, our team will let you know how long you should avoid eating or drinking beforehand.

You may be given other advice on how best to prepare based on your condition and procedure, such as:

  • Exercises to help strengthen your knee and leg and make your recovery easier and faster Avoiding certain medications for a period of time before your surgery
  • Arranging travel to and from hospital
  • Arranging extra support with everyday tasks such as shopping while you recover

Meniscectomy is usually performed under a general anaesthetic to relax you and block feelings of pain.

Using a keyhole surgery technique called arthroscopy, your surgeon will make a small cut at the front of your knee and insert a tiny camera and surgical tools.

The camera sends live images to a monitor to let your surgeon see and remove or repair the damaged area of cartilage. They may inject fluid into your knee to clean the area, expand the joint and improve their view.

The part and amount of cartilage they target will depend on your condition. For example:

  • An arthroscopic partial medial meniscectomy targets damage to your medial meniscus on the inside edge of your knee.
  • An arthroscopic partial lateral meniscectomy targets damage to your lateral meniscus on the outside edge of your knee.
  • A total meniscectomy removes your whole meniscus.

Once complete, your surgeon will close the incision with stitches or surgical strips and the surgical team will dress it. The operation usually takes less than an hour, after which you'll be moved to another room to recover as the anaesthesia wears off.

You should be able to go home the same day as having arthroscopic meniscectomy surgery. You may need to rest, ice and elevate your knee and use crutches for several days after you leave hospital. Painkillers may also be prescribed to make you more comfortable.

Your consultant will tell you when you can start bearing weight on your knee again and give you other advice based on your condition, procedure and lifestyle. This may include recommending some home exercises to help build back strength in your knee.

You'll also be told how to care for your surgical wound – for example, changing the bandage – and when you should return for a check up about your progress.

Your consultant will let you know when you can get back to your usual routine, including work, driving and exercise. Recovery timelines are always personal based on factors such as the type of meniscectomy (partial or total), severity of your injury and your overall health, plus your job type and level of activity.

Full recovery can take from six weeks to three months. Generally, many people can return to:

  • Light household activities and non-strenuous work after two to three days
  • Driving after one to two weeks (once you have a full range of motion and can perform an emergency stop)
  • Exercise and sports after four to eight weeks

Arthroscopic meniscectomy surgery is usually recommended after trying non-surgical options that don't prove effective. These include:

  • Resting, icing and elevating your knee, avoiding activities that involve twisting or lifting heavy weight
  • Taking pain and anti-inflammatory medication to ease your discomfort and swelling Performing physical therapy exercises to strengthen the muscles around your knee

These solutions work in many cases but are less likely to be effective for severe tears – especially large, traumatic tears that create locking in your knee.

The severity and location of your tear could also make open surgery necessary instead of arthroscopic surgery. This is a more invasive procedure involving a larger incision in your knee, usually with a hospital stay and longer recovery afterwards.

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Covering your arthroscopic meniscectomy cost

We offer several ways to pay for your meniscectomy treatment, including self-pay for fast access.

Why choose HCA UK

Why choose HCA UK?

Fast access to care: We'll confirm an appointment with one of our knee specialists within 24 hours of you getting in touch, helping you overcome your knee pain sooner.

Full range of imaging: We provide accurate imaging services across our network in London and Cheshire. All images and scans are reported on by our expert musculoskeletal radiologists, helping accurately diagnose your pain or injury.

Effective treatment and care: Be it arthroscopic repair or meniscectomy, you'll receive personalised treatment and care from experts, using the latest technology in world-class facilities.

Leaders in orthopaedics: We're ranked number one for private orthopaedic care in London based on Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) data, helping more private patients than any other private healthcare provider.

Trusted by patients: Don't just take our word for it – 96% of people would recommend us to loved ones, according to our 2022 patient satisfaction survey.

How to book an appointment

Book an appointment with a knee consultant

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced knee consultants to discuss a meniscectomy. We can also make imaging and outpatient physiotherapy appointments for you.

Private  meniscectomy surgery Consultants

Mr Mazin Ibrahim

Mr Mazin Ibrahim

Orthopaedic Surgery

Mr Jonathan Miles

Mr Jonathan Miles

Orthopaedic Surgery

Mr William Bartlett

Mr William Bartlett

Orthopaedic Surgery

Mr Ricci Plastow

Mr Ricci Plastow

Orthopaedic Surgery

Our Private  meniscectomy surgery locations

Institute of Sport Exercise and Health (ISEH)

Institute of Sport Exercise and Health (ISEH)

170 Tottenham Court Road W1T 7HA London
The Princess Grace Hospital

The Princess Grace Hospital

42-52 Nottingham Place W1U 5NY London
The Lister Hospital

The Lister Hospital

Chelsea Bridge Road, SW1W 8RH London
The Shard Outpatients

The Shard Outpatients

The Shard, 32 St Thomas Street SE1 9BS London
London Bridge Hospital

London Bridge Hospital

27 Tooley Street SE1 2PR London
The Wellington Hospital

The Wellington Hospital

8A Wellington Place NW8 9LE London

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.