The meniscus cartilage tissue between the thigh/femur and the shin/tibia is frequently torn during strenuous activity at work or while engaging in sports. Only a small portion of meniscal tears are in a location with an adequate blood supply (10%). To be “repaired” a tear must be near an adequate blood supply.
Meniscal tears can be repaired using a variety of techniques ranging from very basic suture repairs through complex arthroscopic procedures.
Articular Cartilage Repair
It is believed that the articular cartilage (that which covers the bones at the joint) cannot be repaired and, at best, a surgeon can only re-implant cartilage that has been dislodged.
Surgical repair is limited to ligaments that heal better with surgery. The medial collateral ligament (MCL) has a robust blood supply so can typically repair itself without surgical intervention. The anterior collateral ligament (ACL) does not have that same good blood supply and is seated deep within the knee joint so typically does not repair itself with or without surgical intervention. The patellar tendon is responsible for maintaining the position of the knee cap. If a patella dislocates or is dislodged, the ligament securing it is torn. The patellar tendon may heal on its own or might require surgical repair.