What is the Meniscus?
Menisci are crucial to knee stability and provide cushioning to the knee joint, as well as distribute weight and stress within the joint. The meniscus is located on the inside and outside of the knee and are “c” shaped cushions of cartilage. When a patient experiences a meniscus injury, they are at an elevated risk of developing knee arthritis or other degenerative condition. Cases of a meniscus injury that could lead to arthritis include a previous meniscus surgery where all or a large portion of the meniscus was removed or a current injury so severe the meniscus cannot be saved. Younger, active individuals with either of these conditions may not be ideal candidates for a typical knee replacement surgery, but they may be candidates for an alternative meniscus treatment, known as meniscal transplantation. Dr. Matthew Provencher, Vail, Aspen, Colorado Springs and Denver, Colorado area orthopedic knee surgeon, is highly experienced in performing surgical meniscus replacement in order to eliminate or prolong the development of painful knee arthritis in young, active patients.
The medial meniscus, located on the inside of the knee, absorbs approximately 50% of the knee’s medial impact when the knee is in extension. The lateral meniscus, located on the outside of the knee, absorbs approximately 70% of the knee’s impact on the lateral compartment in extension. Increasing to 85% and 90%, respectively, in knee flexion. Both structures help prevent knee osteoarthritis. If either of these structures become severely damaged or are removed, it is likely the knee’s articular cartilage will begin to deteriorate and lead to osteoarthritis.