A torn meniscus can be a devastating injury for young athletes, as once the cartilage has been damaged, it will not repair itself. Up until recently, this meant the only option was to undergo surgery to remove the damaged area of the meniscus. In many cases this led to a significant drop in performance, if not the end of an athlete’s career.
Now, cartilage preservation options are available, helping young athletes to avoid surgery and get back to the sport they love. Here, we look at the preservation options available and the research carried out into the different techniques.
Research shows surgery worsens cartilage degeneration
A recent 5-year study conducted by the Osaka Metropolitan University Graduate School of Medicine, examined cartilage degeneration in 41 young patients with lateral disc meniscus injuries. They received various treatments, and a follow up with patients who were initially 15 years old or younger was carried out. It compared the subtotal resection group, where more than half of the meniscus was removed, to the plastic suture group, in which the torn margin of the meniscus was sutured, resulting in a smaller resection.
Total meniscectomies resulted in a greater likelihood of cartilage degeneration. This was particularly evident in cases where the posterior segment was dissected. The study also revealed that preserving the meniscus with sutures was more effective in protecting cartilage from future damage in younger patients, even in cases where there was more extensive damage to the meniscus.
What is meniscus-sparing surgery?
There are several meniscus sparing procedures that aim to preserve as much of the cartilage as possible. The first is a partial meniscectomy, which removes the damaged portion of the meniscus while preserving as much of the healthy tissue as possible.
This procedure is typically performed using arthroscopic surgery, which requires only two small incisions a few millimetres in size, on the anterior side of the knee. A camera and surgical instruments are inserted through these incisions, allowing the surgeon to visualise and operate on the meniscus while monitoring the procedure on a screen. By using arthroscopic techniques, the risk of complications and recovery time can be minimised compared to traditional open surgery.
Another option, which the recent study assessed, is suturing the meniscus. This technique has shown a lot of promise compared to traditional surgical techniques, and it involves suturing the damaged parts of the meniscus together.
Cartilage preservation using MBST
While suturing the meniscus has shown a lot of promise, there are alternatives that don’t require any surgery at all. MBST is renowned for its ability to regenerate damaged cartilage.
This non-invasive technology uses electromagnetic fields to promote self-healing in damaged tissues, including the meniscus. When the electromagnetic field is applied to the damaged area, it causes the molecules within the tissue to vibrate and generate energy.
This energy stimulates the metabolic processes within the cells, leading to increased blood flow, oxygenation, and nutrient supply to the affected area.
In the case of a damaged meniscus, MBST therapy can help to promote tissue regeneration and reduce inflammation, pain, and swelling. It can also improve joint mobility and reduce the risk of further degeneration.
MBST is safe, painless, and non-invasive. It can be used as a standalone treatment, or in combination with other conservative or surgical treatments. To find out more, call 020 3282 7553 to book a consultation with MBST London. Our experts will first assess whether MBST is a suitable option for you.