Orthopedist Questions Knee Surgery

Recovery for knee meniscectomy?

What's the recovery like for knee meniscectomy? I'm having the procedure in two months and not sure what to expect. Will it be likely for me to experience swelling months after surgery?

20 Answers

Depends on partial or total meniscectomy and the patient's cooperation for rehabilitation.
Why are you exactly having surgery?

Jonathan D Swindle, DO, MBA
Most patients are nearly fully recovered by 6 weeks after knee meniscectomy. It is usually performed arthroscopically through 2-3 small incisions and consists of merely removing the torn or diseased portion of the meniscus. Patients are not usually taking pain medications beyond two weeks, and swelling is mostly resolved by 6 weeks. Things that can prolong the recovery or leave you with persistent pain are underlying injuries to the knee like cartilage or ligament injuries. In some cases a very large portion of the meniscus has to be removed that may also leave you with persistent pain.
In most cases people are back to full speed in 6 weeks
It depends whether you have locking or not along with the meniscus issue. If locking recovery is quick, if no locking and pain, then recovery is slow
Typical recovery is 2-3 days, using crutches or a cane. Lots of icing in the first two weeks from surgery as you do range of motion exercises to get your knee mobility restored. From weeks 2-6 most patients do independent exercises at the gym like exercise bike, elliptical, and some light resistance training with full return to activity in 6 weeks. I don't expect my patients to have any significant swelling from 4-6 weeks after surgery and beyond. Hope this helps, good luck!!

To your musculoskeletal health,

Dr. T
No, it is very unlikely for you to experience swelling for that long. You should be able to return to normal activities fairly quickly and should be walking the next day, if not the same day as the procedure.
Successful arthroscopic knee partial meniscectomy recovery is brief assisted by no more than
3 weeks of therapy and is accelerated by quad isometrics up to 100 per day performed early post-op.
Typically you will be walking on the knee the same day as the surgery. About 1/3 of my patients use crutches for a couple days. If you are diligent with ice and quadriceps muscle strengthening, most patients are back to normal daily activities by 2 weeks. Anticipate 6 weeks until you are normal and starting back to more vigorous activities. Months of swelling or pain would be quite unusual unless there is more going on in your knee than a torn meniscus.
This is a difficult question for any doctor to answer without knowing the details of your case and what exactly you mean by the word "recovery". Does recovery mean off crutches and back to work OR does it mean back to normal activities with a completely pain-free knee? Many factors can affect the recovery time including age, medical conditions, pre-existent condition of the knee (i.e.--do you have any arthritis?), etc. Generally speaking, recovery times for arthroscopic meniscectomy of the knee is 6-12 weeks, but can be longer or shorter depending on those factors. Your doctor can give you a more specific answer based on the details of your specific case.
After a partial meniscectomy, the recovery might be up to two weeks. When more pathology, the recovery can be 1 - 2 weeks longer. There should not be a complete meniscectomy done these days. If possible, the meniscus should be repaired. After meniscus repair, depending on the location of repair, there is a brace and partial weight bearing required for up to 6 weeks after surgery.
Recovery from a meniscectomy usually takes 4-6 weeks. There is usually some swelling for the first couple of weeks but you shouldn't expect any swelling after 6 weeks.
I would direct your questions to the surgeon performing your case.

You will likely have some swelling initially, but it should get better in most cases.
The recovery for a partial menisectomy depends on whether your medial or lateral meniscus is partially resected. The recovery of a partiel medial menisectomy is on average 6 weeks with a range of 2 weeks till 3 months. The recovery of a lateral partiel menisectomy is on average 3 months and can last up to 6 months. During this period, your knee might still be reactive (swollen), though usually, the swelling resolves rapidly postoperatively.

If it is a simple menisectomy, I allow my patients to be weightbearing as tolerated the day of surgery. Range of motion exercises are begun the day of surgery. You should avoid kneeling on the affected knee for two weeks to allow the incisions to heal. Most patients are able to resume their activities at 4-6 weeks after surgery. It is not uncommon to experience some swelling up to 4-6 months after surgery. Hope this helps.
There are many factors that will determine your specific recovery after knee meniscectomy. Some are within your control while others are not. Generally, controlling the pain and swelling after the surgery are the first tasks that need completion. Some knees will swell for 3-8 weeks, while others will have little swelling after three weeks. Slow and steady return to function is the plan. Physical therapy and home exercises are key to an optimal recovery. I would recommend getting the knee as flexible and strong as possible before the surgery. Then during PT, utilize home exercise programs to optimize your outcomes. Pop-doc.com offers home exercise programs to help guide you through your arthroscopy recovery, as well as exercises you can incorporate into your daily life, to maintain and preserve a highly functional joint.
You should not experience swelling or pain for months after a partial menisectomy. The recovery can vary anywhere from 2-4 weeks. Weight bearing as tolerated is allowed immediately after surgery, unless the meniscus is repaired. If you are undergoing a repair, your weight bearing will be restricted for 2-4 weeks depending upon the surgeon's preference. I've had patients return to light exercise immediately following a partial menisectomy.
If you are a pro or major college athlete, you'll miss 2 games. If you are a normal person 3-4 weeks. You can put weight on the knee immediately without doing damage, but it will be sore for 2-3 weeks.
Depends what does the X-ray or MRI show; could be 2 weeks or more.
Depending on the size of the tear, it can be a couple days to a few weeks recovery