The term can encompass different degrees of tissue removal -
The term 'partial meniscectomy' is actually used rather loosely in medical reporting. There may be a wide variation in the actual amount of meniscus removed, from minor trimming of a frayed edge to anything short of removing the rim. It is important to ask your surgeon exactly what was/will be removed, and any video record should be kept for later reference.
Now, there is one big issue about 'complete' meniscectomy that you must understand - losing the cushioning rim around the outer edge of the meniscus in a complete meniscectomy is a one-way ticket to arthritis!
Removal of the all-important meniscal rim causes the following consquences -
Knee surgeons will generally try to preserve this external rim at all costs. However, part of the meniscus may have to be removed in a partial meniscectomy, particularly if there is a large bucket handle tear where the torn fragment is large and the fibres disrupted, so unlikely to heal.
Modern techniques of meniscal transplantation (allograft) and collagen meniscus implants now allow restoration of meniscal function, but these are only available in certain centres as the techniques are not yet mainstream.