A small proportion of meniscal tears are suitable for repair.
If a tear is treated soon after it occurs and the tear itself lies in the outer part of the meniscus, where there are tiny blood vessels, it may be suitable for repair with special sutures or anchors.
In general this is only considered for younger patients for a number of technical reasons. Over the age of 30, we know that the chance of a meniscus tear healing is reduced.
In some injuries the point where the meniscus is attached to the tibia (the meniscal root) can be pulled off. This is called a root avulsion and is important because, if it happens, the function of the meniscus is completely lost. It may be suitable for repair, depending on a number of factors which your surgeon will discuss with you.
The meniscus cartilage is extremely important, especially in young patients, for protecting the joint surface against premature wear and arthritis.
So where a large part of the meniscus has to be removed, it is now possible to replace it with artificial or “donor” material.