Understanding Side Effects of Meniscus Tear Surgery

Understanding Side Effects of Meniscus Tear Surgery

The meniscus is a crescent-shaped piece of cartilage that acts as a shock absorber and stabilizer in your knee. A tear in the meniscus can cause pain, swelling, and difficulty bending or straightening your knee. In some cases, surgery may be recommended to repair the tear. While meniscus tear surgery is a common procedure, it’s important to understand the potential side effects before making a decision.

Common Side Effects of Meniscus Tear Surgery

Most people experience some level of discomfort following side effects of meniscus tear surgery. Here’s a breakdown of the most common ones:

  • Anesthesia Risks: Anesthesia is used to numb the area during surgery. While generally safe, there can be side effects like nausea, dizziness, and allergic reactions. Your doctor will discuss your medical history to minimize these risks.
  • Pain and Swelling: Expect some pain and swelling in the days following surgery. This is normal and can be managed with medication and ice packs.
  • Limited Range of Motion: Your knee may feel stiff and have limited movement after surgery. Physical therapy is crucial to regain full range of motion and flexibility.
  • Stiffness: Scar tissue formation can cause stiffness in the knee joint. This usually improves with diligent physical therapy exercises.
  • Bleeding: Minor bleeding at the incision site is normal. However, excessive bleeding should be reported to your doctor.

Less Common Side Effects of Meniscus Tear Surgery

While less frequent, some other side effects of meniscus tear surgery can occur:

  • Infection: As with any surgery, there’s a risk of infection at the incision site. Proper wound care is essential to minimize this risk.
  • Blood Clots: Sitting for long periods after surgery can increase the risk of blood clots in the legs. Your doctor may prescribe blood thinners or recommend compression stockings to prevent this.
  • Nerve Damage: There’s a small chance of nerve damage during surgery, which can cause numbness or tingling around the incision.
  • Meniscus Repair Failure: In some cases, the repaired meniscus may tear again. This may require further surgery.
  • Arthritis: Over time, any damage to the knee joint can increase the risk of developing arthritis.

HipKneeOrtho: Committed to Patient Education

At HipKneeOrtho, we understand that undergoing surgery can be a daunting experience. That’s why we prioritize patient education. Our team of experienced orthopedic surgeons will thoroughly explain the procedure, potential side effects of meniscus tear surgery, and the recovery process. We’ll answer all your questions and work collaboratively to create a personalized treatment plan that addresses your specific needs.


Meniscus tear surgery is a generally safe and effective procedure to improve knee function. However, like any surgery, it’s not without potential side effects. By understanding these side effects and discussing them with your doctor, you can make an informed decision about whether surgery is the right choice for you.

FAQ on Side Effects of Meniscus Tear Surgery

Q: How long do the side effects of meniscus tear surgery last?

A: The duration of side effects varies depending on the individual and the type of surgery performed. Pain and swelling typically subside within a few weeks, while regaining full range of motion may take several months with dedicated physical therapy.

Q: What can I do to minimize the side effects of meniscus tear surgery?

A: Following your doctor’s instructions for pain medication, applying ice packs, and diligently performing physical therapy exercises are crucial in minimizing side effects and promoting a smooth recovery.

Q: When should I call my doctor after meniscus tear surgery?

A: Contact your doctor if you experience excessive pain, swelling, redness, or drainage at the incision site, or if you have a fever or chills, which could be signs of infection. Additionally, if you experience significant difficulty bending or straightening your knee, or have persistent numbness or tingling, consult your doctor.

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