A torn meniscus is a common knee injury among the clients of our practice. Our attorneys have a great deal of experience in advising clients in how to decide on treatments offered by their Chicago orthopedic surgeons.
The knee join is made up of a number of structures including bones, tendons, and cartilage. One of the types of cartilage that is most frequently injured is the meniscus. Actually each knee contains two menisci, there is the medial meniscus toward the inside of the knee and the lateral meniscus toward the outside. These meniscus act as spacers which cushion and support the major bones of the knee joint, the femur which is the thigh bone and the tibia which is the larger bone of the lower leg.
When the knee is twisted or otherwise traumatized the meniscus can be damaged. Usually a portion of the meniscus is torn due to the sheering forces exerted on the menisci by the twisting bones. Once sheared off a piece of meniscus can result in a catching feeling inside the knee. The patient will also experience pain and swelling as the knee in human body react to the trauma.
After proper examination a doctor will usually prescribe pain medications and anti-inflammatory medicine to quite the patient's symptoms. This is usually followed by a conservative course of treatment which may include rest, a knee brace, and physical therapy. If after several weeks of therapy substantial improvement doesn't occur then the doctor may order diagnostic testing including an MRI scan to show the internal structures of the knee. This treatment approach is typical for orthopedic injuries of the knee including a torn ACL, injury to the Articular cartilage, or fractures to the femur, patella or the tibial plateau.
If conservative therapy fails and the MRI confirms a badly torn meniscus then surgery will be considered. Usually the surgery of choice is arthroscopic surgery in which a scope for visualization as well as surgical tools are inserted into the knee joint to trim or remove pieces of the torn meniscus and other structures. Deciding on whether or not to proceed with surgery and whether that surgery should be arthroscopic or open is a decision for the patient and physician.
Of course, each of the above treatment modalities, the time spent on each and the assessment on other structures damaged during the trauma are decided on a case by case bases. Our lawyers are happy to provide our clients with the benefit of our experience dealing with hundreds of other clients who have had similar injuries and dealt with similar decisions.