Meniscus Transplant

At Aurora, you can receive cartilage transplant procedures only available at a handful of hospitals nationwide, including meniscus transplant.


Meniscus Transplant Overview

Cartilage is a flexible material found throughout the body, including on the ends of bones. The meniscus is a C-shaped disc of cushioning cartilage that acts as a shock absorber in the knee.

An injury involving forceful rotation of the knee – like starting and stopping quickly while playing basketball – can cause a torn meniscus. A meniscus tear may require surgery to repair.

In cases of severe damage, the meniscus may need to be removed completely. Doctors may recommend knee replacement surgery for older people, but meniscus transplant may be an option for adults under 55.

Meniscus transplant helps support your knee and protect articular cartilage. Articular cartilage is the type of cartilage that covers the ends of your bones, including your thigh and shin bones.

Not everyone is eligible for meniscus transplant. If you already have arthritis that has damaged the articular cartilage in your knee, a meniscus transplant will not relieve your knee pain. Learn more about arthritis and how we can help you find lasting pain relief.

The Aurora Difference

Meniscus Transplant at Aurora

Our doctors were the first to perform cartilage transplant procedures in southeast Wisconsin more than 25 years ago. Our long history with cartilage transplants makes us experts in this uncommon procedure, which can mean better results for you.

People also come to us for meniscus transplant because we offer:

  • Advanced treatment options: Cartilage transplant procedures like meniscus transplant are only available at a limited number of places in the state, including Aurora. Learn more about cartilage repair for joint paint.
  • Sports medicine expertise: Many of our orthopedic surgeons have additional training in sports medicine. This knowledge gives them special expertise to care for athletes and active adults with a torn meniscus. Learn more about orthopedic sports health at Aurora.
  • Seamless surgical care: When you have surgery at Aurora, we’ve got you covered from start to finish. Your surgeon will work closely with your primary care doctor and physical therapy specialists to monitor you and give you the care you need throughout your recovery.
  • Convenient therapy locations: With a large number of physical and occupational therapists in dozens of locations throughout eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois, you can find a physical therapy location close to where you live or work.

What to Expect

Preparing for Meniscus Transplant

Before your meniscus transplant procedure, you may need to avoid eating or taking medications that increase your risk of bleeding. Right before the surgery, your doctor will give you medicine to make you go to sleep.

Meniscus transplant is considered a minimally invasive arthroscopic procedure because doctors can perform the surgery with just a few small incisions. Learn more about minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery at Aurora.

During this surgery:

  1. Your orthopedic surgeon will insert thin, flexible surgical instruments through small incisions in your knee. One of these instruments is equipped with a camera, allowing the doctor to guide the surgical instruments by watching a video screen.
  2. Using these instruments, your surgeon will attach the new meniscus to your shinbone before closing the incision.

Recovering from Meniscus Transplant

Recovery after a meniscus transplant requires 4 to 6 weeks of using a knee brace and crutches. As soon as possible, your doctor will recommend physical therapy to improve your strength and range of motion.

Depending on your line of work, you may be able to return to your job in just a few weeks. Those with active jobs that involve being on your feet all day will require up to 3 months of physical therapy.

Within a year, you should be back to your normal activity level. However, you should talk to your doctor about any planned sports participation.

Find out more about orthopedic physical therapy at Aurora.

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