Knee scopes are a common procedure

Knee scopes are a common procedure

Earlier this week we learned that Browns rookie running back Trent Richardson was going to have his knee scoped.

Dr. John Sonthich with MetroHealth Medical Center says a scope is more of a preventative measure.

The meniscus serves as a shock absorber in the knee, and is easy to tear but in most cases a meniscus injury can be repaired with minor surgery.

"If the knee cap is moved to the side the meniscus is right on the top of the chin bone," Dr. Sonthich said.

A meniscus tear can put you out of commission, especially in athletes including Richardson.

Dr. Sonthich says, "Meniscus tear is extremely common. They can happen with trauma, with twisting of the knee. They present with pain, with swelling, with catching and locking."

Sometimes they heal on their own, but sometimes they require what is commonly called a knee scope.  Three short incisions are made and then a small medical instrument is inserted in the knee area.

"A small fragment of the meniscus can be removed.  The part that's torn and loose and then this portion of the cartilage regenerates with fibrous tissue."

Dr. Sonthich explains that patients can be back in business in as little as three weeks, "because the surgery is minimally invasive the scarring is minimal so patients can be weight bearing from the get go. They can start to exercise right away."

Smaller tears produce pain, but the knee is not unstable, like with a ligament injury where your knee may go out on you or buckle.  A meniscus tear has more locking and clicking and pain.

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