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Author Topic: Meniscus repair over 40, success rates and return to running/sport?  (Read 17564 times)

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Offline susiewoo

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Hi All
I'm likely to be having surgery on a meniscus tear in the next few months and am looking for advice.  I have just read on posts here that only 50% of repairs are successful and they are generally not done on over 40's.  I am 44 and am a triathlete.  I don't think the tear I have is too bad as I can cycle for 3 hours plus without pain and walk short distances no problem but stairs are uncomfortable, as are long walks and I can't run or kick when swimming without it causing some pain.  I can't fully straighten the leg. It has never locked up, though has been clicky and did once feel like it was starting to lock a little when I did a long walk.  I don't want to have to give up running. 
Would the surgeon be more likely to remove some of the meniscus rather than repair it?  What is the recovery like after this and do I have good chance of getting back to running?  I don't race distances over 10k so am not going to be taking up marathon training and don't run more than 3 times a week.

Online Vickster

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Re: Meniscus repair over 40, success rates and return to running/sport?
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2011, 01:58:05 PM »
It seems to be depend on the state of the tissue.  I had a 'small' lateral meniscus tear on MRI, took 5 months from injury to surgery (trying conservative rehab before surgery).  I (and the surgeon) were expecting a repair but when the surgeon got in, he discovered  I had ground part of it away, a degenerate tear, and it couldn't be repaired so 10-15% was removed.  I was 37 at the time.  From what I have read, meniscus tissue does seem to deteriorate with age, may also depend where the tear is.  I don't think you can generalise.  The meniscus section in the information hub is good :)

In terms of running, I assume it depends on what else is damaged if anything - I cannot run - but then I have articular catilage damage on that side.  I can now straighten my leg unlike before and don't limp as much, so the meniscus surgery was a success in that respect.  However, it is possible that the lack of meniscus has accelerated the other damage laterally, but I do have some alignment issues too, so not the only cause for sure. 

Generally, running isn't great for knees and obviously, with any menisectomy, part of the shock absorption is removed, but this can be eased with strong leg muscles.  Spend as much time doing non impact pre-hab, maybe talk to a physio about how best to do this.

Certainly, pro athletes seem to return to sport after a meniscus repair (and presumably trim) - Fernando Torres for example - but he is in his 20s  :) 
Came off bike onto concrete 9/9/09
LK arthroscopy 8/2/10
2nd scope on 16/12/10
RK arthroscopy on 5/2/15
Lateral meniscus trim, excision of hoffa's fat pad, chondral stabilisation
LK scope 10.1.19 medial menisectomy, trochlea microfracture, general tidy up

Offline mmrocker13

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Re: Meniscus repair over 40, success rates and return to running/sport?
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2011, 10:29:48 PM »
It's more your biological age than chronological age that is the determining factor (well, in cases where "age" is a criteria). If you are in good shape, that will work in your favor.

Make sure you talk about your post-surgical athletic goals with your surgeon--and make sure you are on the same page.

In general, he'd be more likely to clip than repair simply b/c the vast majority of tears are not repairable. But I would say if he gets in there and thinks that it's got a shot at fixing it...then he would try it. Also depends on how big the tear is and how much they'd have to clip versus chance of success if it is possibly repairable. A repair recovery is longer and more involved, but...If you can keep your own parts, it's almost always the better choice, of course. :-)

As far as athletics go...LOTS of folks continue to run etc. after a meniscal tear and clip or repair. It's really pretty common. FWIW, I have Grade IV lesions (bone exposed) covering 3/4ths of my lateral femoral condyle and 1/2 to 2/3rds of my lateral tibial plateau. I am also missing all of the lateral meniscus. (Resulting in kissing lesions)

While I ran for a long time with some extensive damage (I started running as a little first surgery was when I was 12), in recent years I've cut back. I no longer run 7 dpw or at the level I was when I was, say, in college...but I still run. I'm a triathlete, and typically put in 3 dpw, lower mileage (half marathon is my max race distance...but I never wanted to do a marathon when I was younger anyway, so no big loss there), primarily soft surfaces whenever possible. I also do a LOT of strength stuff, and cycle.

I'm not exactly a representation of the majority--but as far as a simple clip goes, anecdotally speaking, I'd say most of my running friends who have had them have bounced back just fine.
89: Pat. dislocation, lat. meniscus tear, femoral OCD lesion
89: debridement, chondroplasty, lateral partial menisectomy
02: partial lat. menisc., debride
02: mfx
09: subtotal menisc., debride, c'plasty
10: scope/debride
10: varus DFO
13: HWR
15: total menisc., debride, c'plasty, notchplasty

Offline BECKZ_oo7

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Re: Meniscus repair over 40, success rates and return to running/sport?
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2011, 04:23:17 PM »
I must say that i felt alot better after reading the reply above from "mmrocker13"..

and thats basically because i'm 20 and i dont got a medial meniscus in my left knee and nor an ACL.. and it's been like that for over 2 years now but i've been regularly playing soccer for the past six months with real vigour..

it does pain alot but im looking for a decent place in India to get my meniscus transplant done along with an acl repair aswell..

until that happens i continue to play and enjoy each momment of the game as much as i can.. cuz i feel that its worth it..

i just hope that i can get back to playing professional soccer again when i get my knee transplant and Anterior Cruciate ligament fixed up..

Offline meggibear11

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Re: Meniscus repair over 40, success rates and return to running/sport?
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2012, 08:29:53 AM »
I am 17 years old and am going to be having my 4th knee surgery this next week. this will be the 3rd on my left knee and that is the knee I no longer have a part of my meniscus in.
The operation success all depends how bad the tear is. I had a tear in the meniscus of my right knee, but with the right healing it healed up wonderfully along with my ACL tear and so now my right knee functions perfectly! Now my left knee has been a whole different story. The pain is constant. I am 17 for goodness sake! They tried to save a severe tear in my meniscus, part of it was actually tearing off into my knee, but alas I had to go back in because I had a lesion and during that surgery they also took out the part they had so diligently tried to save. Now after 3 surgeries I have another lesion and i can't even exercise without my knee locking. I would advise you to take care of your knees and do everything the doctor tells you to do! My countless injuries weren't my fault, and, call me a cynic, but with my experiences the more you push your knees and try to be who you used to be the worse our knees become.
I was in line to be a varsity soccer player at my elite high school my freshman year and this all happened. I kept pushing myself after 2 surgeries and it has ended in disaster. Overall I have had both my ACL's repaired and both my meniscuses operated upon. Just don't push it! Do your knee exercises and lots of cardio that is good for the natural knee movement, aka swimming and biking.
Good Luck! I hope i didn't scare you haha or maybe I hope I scared you into doing the exercises and changing your lifestyle for these injuries ;D

Offline JuhaH

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Re: Meniscus repair over 40, success rates and return to running/sport?
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2012, 11:07:35 PM »

I would choose the repair if tear is in the vascular area of meniscus . -> 'Preservation of meniscal tissue is paramount for long-term joint function, especially in patients who are athletically active. Many studies have reported encouraging results following repair of meniscus tears for both simple longitudinal tears located in the periphery and complex multi-planar tears that extend into the central  third avascular region.'
Meniscus scaffold, such as Actifit ( might be option for your knee.

Good luck.
Skiing accident in january 2010. Left knee, medial joint space narrowing and constant pain following partial meniscectomy (30% medial meniscus left). Trying to prolong the knee replacement as long as I can.

Offline casual runner

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Re: Meniscus repair over 40, success rates and return to running/sport?
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2012, 02:24:33 PM »
How long has it been since the injury, suziewoo? Did they take standing x-rays? They should have. Did they tell you how much thinning (if any) your menisci show?  These are important considerations.

I would certainly give it at least a few months to "subside" (healing and regrowth is unlikely) before jumping under the knife. You are probably looking at partial meniscectomy if you have surgery, with the accompanying risk of arthritis down the road. I'm a few years older but in the same boat, except I don't run as much and I'm doing everything possible to avoid surgery. I want to run too, but I can't, but I can ride as much as I want.