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Meniscal Tears
Updated: Jul 19 2022

Meniscus Repair - Inside Out

Preoperative Patient Care
Operative Techniques

Preoperative Plan


Determine pathology using MRI

  • radial tear
  • horizontal cleavage tear
  • displaced bucket handle tear
  • meniscal root tear
  • discoid meniscus


Execute surgical walkthrough

  • describe steps of the procedure verbally to the attending prior to the start of the case
  • describe potential complications and steps to avoid them

Room Preparation


Surgical Instrumentation

  • standard knee arthroscopy setup
  • double loaded 2-0 or 0 nonabsorbable sutures with long flexible needles


Room setup and Equipment

  • standard OR table with choice of leg holder or post
  • patient is supine on bed
  • tourniquet may be used

Scope Insertion


Mark out the anatomy of the knee

  • draw out the patella, patellar tendon, medial and lateral joint lines and the posterior contours of the medial and lateral femoral condyles
  • mark future portals as well as the incision for the medial / lateral meniscus repair


Place anterolateral portal

  • an 11 blade is used to create the portal at a 45 degree angle into the joint just lateral to the patella tendon and just inferior to the distal pole of the patella
  • insert the blunt trocar at the same angle as incision
  • place scope in the trocar after removing the inner cannula


Place anteromedial portal

  • created under direct visualization once the medial compartment is entered
  • use a spinal needle to assess direction and appropriate superior/inferior direction visualizing the entrance from the lateral viewing portal
  • the medial portal should be located just superior to the medial meniscus and able to provide access to the medial meniscal root if needed

Diagnostic Arthroscopy



  • suprapatellar pouch
  • undersurface of the patella and trochlear groove
  • lateral and medial gutters
  • medial compartment
  • visualize the medial femoral condyle and follow it while bringing the knee into slight flexion and applying a valgus stress to the knee as you go into the medial compartment
  • the foot will be positioned on your opposite hip for control
  • medial meniscus, medial femoral condyle, and medial tibial plateau
  • once the anteriomedial portal is created, a probe is used to assess the medial meniscus and cartilage
  • intercondylar notch – ACL/PCL
  • use the probe to assess the ACL and PCL
  • Lateral compartment
  • the surgeon can bring the leg into a figure-4 position or place the operative limb on the surgeon's hip to create a varus stress and flexion to the knee to enter the lateral compartment
  • lateral meniscus, lateral femoral condyle, and lateral tibial plateau
  • a probe is used to assess the lateral meniscus and cartilage

Meniscal Tear Evaluation and Preparation


Diagnose tear and determine configuration if present

  • investigate superior and inferior portion of the meniscus with the probe
  • check the capsule attachment of the meniscus by pulling the meniscus from the posterior capsule gently
  • assess the meniscal root


Check location of tear if present

  • assess the zone of tear and decide if the tear is repairable


Check stability, size and extent of tear

  • extent
  • partial or complete



Make incision posteriomedially or posterolaterally for needle capture

  • posteromedial incision
  • place the knee in 20 to 30 degrees of flexion
  • make a 4 to 6 cm incision just posterior to the medial collateral ligament
  • the incision should be one third above and two thirds below the joint
  • incise longitudinally through the sartorial fascia and continue the dissection anterior to the semimembranosus deep to the head of the gastrocnemius without violating the capsule.
  • posterolateral incision
  • place knee in 90° of flexion
  • this allows the peroneal nerve, popliteus and lateral inferior geniculate artery to fall posteriorly
  • make a 4 to 6 cm incision just posterior to the lateral collateral ligament anterior to the biceps femoris tendon
  • the incision should be one third above and two thirds below the joint
  • incise longitudinally through the iliotibial band and continue the dissection staying superior and anterior to the biceps tendon to protect the peroneal nerve.
  • proceed deep and anterior to the lateral head of the gastroc without violating the capsule.

Inside-Out Repair


Place a popliteal retractor "Henning retractor" against the capsule

  • a needle driver can be clamped to the retractor and held secure to the leg with a sterile coban to help hold the retractor in place


Place a single or double lumen cannula through the arthroscopic portals

  • the long flexible needles can be passed through the cannula by an assistant and slowly progressed at 1 cm increments until visualized at the medial or lateral incision through the retractor


Capture the needles one at a time as they pass through the capsule and cut the suture free from the needles.

  • be sure not to pull either suture all the way through until both needles are passed
  • keep each pair of sutures together for later repair with the knee in full extension.


Tension then tie the sutures over the capsule

  • the sutures are tensioned to simulate the tying. the knee is then brought into extension during the suture tying so that the capsule is not tightened.
  • ensure that the sutures are directly on the capsule prior to suture tying.

Treats Intraoperative and Immediate Postoperative Complications


Treat any intraoperative complications


Treat any immediate postoperative complications


Wound Closure


Use 3-0 and 4-0 biosyn for closure


Apply steristrips


Cover with tegaderm and occlusive dressings

Postoperative Patient Care
Private Note

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