Arrows Point the Way to New Knee SurgeryThe meniscus inside the knee is a protective piece of cartilage. Until the mid-1950s, doctors thought the meniscus was like the tonsils and appendix. Whenever the meniscus was torn or damaged, it was simply removed.
Today, after much study, the importance of the meniscus is known. It helps steady the knee joint during movement. It also absorbs shock during walking, running, jumping, and twisting.
Today, doctors try to save the meniscus when it is torn or damaged. Now they can do this without cutting the knee open. They use a tool called an arthroscope. This device allows the doctor to slide a thin instrument into the joint that has a tiny TV camera on the end. With the arthroscope, the doctor repairs the cartilage while watching a television screen.
There are many ways to make this repair using the arthroscope. A new "all-inside" repair can be done using arrows that eventually dissolve. This replaces the need for stitches or staples to make the repair. The arrows are threaded through the arthroscope and gently tapped to hold the torn meniscus in place. Usually one or two are needed, but up to six at a time may be used. They remain in place for six months and are gradually absorbed by the body after that.
Doctors have found a new way to repair a torn meniscus. Using an arthrscope to implant arrows decreases the time of the operation and reduces risk of damage to blood vessels and nerves in the area.
Sanjitpal S. Gill, MD, and David R. Diduch, MD. Outcomes After Meniscal Repair Using the Meniscus Arrow in Knees Undergoing Concurrent Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction. In Arthroscopy. July/August 2002. Vol. 18. No. 6. Pp. 569-577.
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