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The meniscus is a shock-absorbing cushion in your knee joint. A damaged or worn meniscus can increase pressure on the remaining cartilage, which can lead to arthritis. A meniscus transplant is an option to replace a meniscus that is too damaged to repair.
Your replacement meniscus will be from a cadaver donor. We make sure the donor meniscus will fit your leg, and ensure there is minimal risk for infection.
Your doctor may recommend meniscus transplant if you are younger than 50, active and:
- Your meniscus has damage beyond repair
- Your knee has normal or correctable ligaments and alignment
- You have activity-related pain
- There is minimal knee arthritis
A meniscus transplant does not work as well as a normal meniscus. A meniscus transplant does not reliably allow return to impact activity such as running, but does allow patients to perform daily activities with less pain and difficulty.
Meniscus Transplant Surgery
Meniscus transplant is performed with minimally invasive techniques, but always requires several incisions to secure the new meniscus to the bone and surrounding joint lining
We will remove your remaining damaged meniscus before transplanting the new one. The surgery is complex and usually takes several hours, but most patients are able to go home the same day.
Meniscus Transplant Recovery
You may wear a knee brace and use crutches for at least the first six weeks after your transplant. This allows the transplanted meniscus to attach to your shinbone.
Physical therapy will begin when pain and swelling have decreased. Exercises include stretches to help restore range of motion and muscle strength.
Most people won’t return to work for at least two weeks. If your job is physical, it may take up to six months. Your orthopedic surgeon will discuss with you when it is safe to return to your job and any sports activity.