How can you know if a meniscus repair failed?

If you are having pain or other symptoms after undergoing surgery, how can you know that it’s serious and not healing the way it should? In this week’s Ask Dr. Geier video, I answer the question from a reader who wonders how she could know that her meniscus repair surgery wasn’t healing normally.

Mary asks:

What are the failure symptoms of an arthroscopic repair of a bucket handle lateral meniscus tear? What method would best confirm failure of the meniscus repair?

A meniscus repair involves sewing the meniscus back together. This surgery is different than trimming out the torn portion – a partial meniscectomy. While the success rates of meniscal repair surgeries are good, they aren’t perfect. Up to 20% of them don’t heal.

Also read:
Meniscus repairs that don’t heal

In this video, I discuss common symptoms a patient might have if the repair didn’t heal. I also explain the best test that could show the repair hasn’t healed and why a regular MRI might miss that fact.

Also read:
Failure rates of meniscus repairs

Surgeon placing sutures for meniscus repair