If you undergo surgery, you assume that it will work and you will get back to work, to play sports or to exercise normally. There is always the chance that the surgery won’t work. In this Ask Dr. Geier video, I discuss the chances that a surgical meniscus repair performed for a torn meniscus won’t heal.

Ann Marie asks:
Dr. Geier,
My 14-year-old daughter had a horizontal meniscus tear that was in the white area and spread across most of the meniscus. The top had flipped back into the kneecap. The amazing surgeon pulled out the flap and put in 9 stitches inside out and reinforcements on the edge. We are prepared to follow the rehab path, 4-6 months or whatever it takes. She would like to return to competitive basketball in 8 months. If she returns, what are the chances that the sutures will not hold and it will retear? Is there any hope that this area will heal, or is it susceptible to reinjury regardless of long rehab time?

In a meniscus repair, the surgeon sews the torn meniscus back together using sutures or meniscal implants. This surgery differs from a partial meniscectomy, where the surgeon trims out the torn portion of the meniscus.

In this video, I discuss why some meniscus tears can be repaired while others can’t. I also discuss the known failure rates of meniscus repairs and why this operation might not always work.

Surgeon performing a meniscus repair

Also read:
Ask Dr. Geier – Failure of meniscus repairs
Ask Dr. Geier – Recovery from meniscus repair

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