Arthroscopic debridement refers to a procedure in which loose pieces of bone and cartilage are surgically removed from the joints.
Meniscectomy is a form of arthroscopic debridement in which a torn meniscus is removed. The meniscus is a piece of cartilage that works to optimise the load bearing of the knee joint as well as to stabilise the knee joint. When the meniscus tears, pieces of cartilage can become loose and get stuck in the knee joint, causing pain and issues with mobility. A torn meniscus can be caused by twisting the knee during sports or in an accident. While the injury may sometimes be treated with physical therapy and medication, surgery is mostly required.
Dr Marais is likely to recommend arthroscopic debridement and meniscectomy in cases where torn cartilage is causing severe pain and swelling in the knee. He will evaluate the extent of the damage as well the general condition of the knee before recommending these procedures.
Although in some cases the meniscus will be removed, Dr Marais will mostly do a partial meniscectomy by removing only the unstable parts. During this procedure only a small section of the meniscus is removed and the remaining edges are smoothed out to relieve pain and discomfort. Dr Marais will always try to preserve as much as possible of the native meniscus. Dr Marais will make a small incision in the knee and insert an arthroscope into your joint through a small incision in the skin. The instrument has a tiny camera attached to it, and images of the joints are transmitted to a monitor. Dr Marais will look at these images as he works with tiny surgical tools to repair the injury. During this procedure, only a small section of the meniscus is removed and the remaining edges are smoothed out to relieve pain and discomfort.
After the surgery, Dr Marais will advise you on the best rehabilitation plan, which may include physical therapy, and some lifestyle changes.