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Torn Meniscus Surgery

Can A Torn Meniscus Repair Itself?

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Determining the Type of Meniscus Tear

The meniscus is divided into two regions:

The red zone refers to the outer third of the meniscus. The term red is used to signify that this zone receives some degree of a blood supply. Meniscal tears in this zone can often be repaired.

This is in contrast to the white zone, which refers to the inner two-thirds of the meniscus. Unlike the red zone, the white zone does not receive any significant amount of a blood supply. Tears in the white zone typically will not heal even if an attempt is made to repair them and usually require some form of surgery to remove or cut out the torn portion of the meniscus.

meniscus tear

Illustration 1– There can be some overlap in meniscal zones. The red-red and red-white zones receive the most amount of blood.

The Two Types of Meniscus Surgery

Depending upon where the meniscus tear has occurred, as well as the severity of your symptoms, there are two different approaches for the surgical treatment of meniscus tears.  Both procedures are performed using an arthroscopic approach and most often performed as outpatient procedures with patients returning home the same day.


  1. Meniscectomy: This arthroscopic procedure involves making a small incision in the area of the meniscus tear and removing the loose pieces of cartilage of the meniscus that is causing pain and locking of the knee.
  2. Meniscal Repair:  This arthroscopic procedure involved making a small incision in the area of the meniscus tear and suturing or stitching is used to reattach torn pieces and restore the meniscus.


Finding a Meniscus Repair Specialist

If you’ve sustained a knee injury, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices in Mahwah and Clifton, NJ.  If your injury is a meniscus tear, you’ll be in great hands and can expect a quick return to competition and activity.

Dr. Nicholas Alexander is the Founder of Mahwah Valley Orthopedics and a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon specializing in both the surgical and non-surgical treatment of hip and knee conditions.  Dr. Alexander completed his Fellowship in Adult Reconstruction and Reconstructive Surgery of the Hip and Knee at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He also serves as the Chairman of the Valley Hospital Total Joint Center. If you, or someone you love, is considering treatment for a meniscus tear, contact us today for a consultation.

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