In order to understand meniscus problems and surgery, it is necessary to know normal anatomy properly first.
Knee joint is basically composed of 2 main bones. End part of the bone coming from above is round and top part of the bone coming from the bottom is flat like a plateau. Ends of both bones are covered with cartilage tissue for a good slide. Cartilage tissues are given to us when we were born and it is requested from us to maintain them as long as we live. Because when cartilage tissue impairs, it does not self-repair and renew itself. When you rub a round object towards a flat one, abrasion occurs in both the round and flat object. Bones in our knees are the same. There are 2, which are medial and lateral, C shaped meniscus tissues that adapt 2 bones to each other in order to prevent abrasion of cartilage tissues covering the surfaces of our bones. Meniscus tissues are cartilaginous structures that cannot self-repair either. Sections of the meniscus tissues ensuring adaptation of 2 bones are in triangular shape and blood vessels are around the meniscuses. Blood vessels do not reach to the central part of the meniscuses, therefore, the tears in the parts close to the meniscuses' perimeter, have the potential to recover but it is not possible for the tears at the part close to the center of the knee to recover. Our meniscuses are precious, important and necessary tissues, like seals or shock absorbers, between 2 bones in our knees.
Our meniscuses may be torn by forcing our knees whether wittingly or unwittingly. There are various types of meniscus tears. Treatment differs depending on the type of tear. Meniscus tears may self-recover rarely. However, treatment of meniscus tears is generally surgical and surgical treatments are made arthroscopically.
In arthroscopic surgery, if the tears are at the points where the blood vessels do not reach, it means that they won't set and torn part needs to be removed. If tears are close to the blood vessels, in other words close to the meniscus's perimeter and if they are proper tears, they can be fixed. Chance of setting of a repaired meniscus is 90% and if it is not set, another surgery is required.
There are important differences between removing the torn part of the meniscus and repairing the meniscus in terms of the post-surgery period. When the torn part of the meniscus is removed, it is possible to step on the knee on the day after the surgery but if it is repaired, it is necessary to use long kneepad and crutch for some time.
We suture meniscuses because when torn part of the meniscus is removed, pressure between 2 bones increase and cartilage abrasion may occur early. There for we always prefer suturing meniscuses and not removing original meniscus parts from the body.
We remove torn parts of the meniscus because they may enter between 2 bones and cause a mechanical obstacle that results damage in cartilage tissues. As the result the problem in knees may not be limited with meniscus and cartilage problems may be added. If any problem starts in the cartilage, unfortunately progression occurs despite of all treatments made and cartilage abrasion which known in public as calcification (which is not very related to it) occurs.