2 doctors weighed in:

How effective is arthroscopy for fixing torn cartilage in my knee? I am an athlete and want the best possible treatment for my injured knee. Is arthroscopy going to allow me to return to full function, or should I opt for traditional surgery?

2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Raj Sinha
Orthopedic Surgery - Reconstruction

In brief: Very effective

There are two basic types of cartilage in your knee--the meniscus (between the bones) and the articular (covering the bones).
"torn cartilage" usually refers to a torn meniscus. Arthroscopic surgery is very reliable for resolving symptoms like catching, locking and giving way. Recovery is typically short with no long term restrictions. Complications are infrequent.

In brief: Very effective

There are two basic types of cartilage in your knee--the meniscus (between the bones) and the articular (covering the bones).
"torn cartilage" usually refers to a torn meniscus. Arthroscopic surgery is very reliable for resolving symptoms like catching, locking and giving way. Recovery is typically short with no long term restrictions. Complications are infrequent.
Dr. Raj Sinha
Dr. Raj Sinha
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Dr. Jim Hsu
Sports Medicine

In brief: Hello: Most

Hello: most cartilage tears in the knee, whether it's the meniscal cartilage or the articular cartilage, can be and are fixed arthroscopically these days.
There are few indications where cartilage needs to be fixed via "traditional surgery" if that means opening the joint up. These include large articular (surface) cartilage defects that require special techniques like autologous chondrocyte implantation or cadaver graft of cartilage and bone plugs. As far as return to full function, it is more dependent on the nature of your injury and not as much on the surgical technique chosen. I would choose a surgeon who is confident in both open or arthroscopic techniques to address your issue, and can make the best decision for you depending on what challenge your knee injury poses. Again, in "cartilage" problems of the knee, this usually means planning primarily for an arthroscopic approach and then if needed adding the open approach. But if that is the case, it should not be seen as a problem: every injury is unique, and your surgeon needs to be able to solve your problems, whatever technique(s) it need(s)! i hope this helps! sincerely, jim hsu, md seattle, wa.

In brief: Hello: Most

Hello: most cartilage tears in the knee, whether it's the meniscal cartilage or the articular cartilage, can be and are fixed arthroscopically these days.
There are few indications where cartilage needs to be fixed via "traditional surgery" if that means opening the joint up. These include large articular (surface) cartilage defects that require special techniques like autologous chondrocyte implantation or cadaver graft of cartilage and bone plugs. As far as return to full function, it is more dependent on the nature of your injury and not as much on the surgical technique chosen. I would choose a surgeon who is confident in both open or arthroscopic techniques to address your issue, and can make the best decision for you depending on what challenge your knee injury poses. Again, in "cartilage" problems of the knee, this usually means planning primarily for an arthroscopic approach and then if needed adding the open approach. But if that is the case, it should not be seen as a problem: every injury is unique, and your surgeon needs to be able to solve your problems, whatever technique(s) it need(s)! i hope this helps! sincerely, jim hsu, md seattle, wa.
Dr. Jim Hsu
Dr. Jim Hsu
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