The meniscus is a wedge-shaped piece of cartilage in the knee that cushions the joint and acts as a shock absorber. Meniscus tears can occur suddenly during sports activity, or gradually due to degenerative changes in the knee.
At New Jersey Regenerative Institute, we offer several nonsurgical treatment options for meniscus tears. Using researched-backed regenerative medicine and comprehensive, individualized treatment plans, we have helped many patients with meniscus tears. Drs. Bowen, Malanga, and Agesen are all board certified and each have over 20 years of experience in patient care. They are the most experienced physicians in the state of New Jersey using regenerative medicine to help with orthopedic sports injuries like meniscus tears.
Causes & Symptoms of Meniscus Tears
Meniscus tears are often sports-related injuries, though this injury is also common in older people as the cartilage weakens and thins over time. Sports-related meniscus tears tend to happen suddenly; you might feel a “pop” when the tear occurs. In older people, meniscus tears tend to occur gradually with wear on the cartilage, making it more likely to tear.
Symptoms of a meniscus tear can include:
- Pain, stiffness, and/or swelling of the knee
- Catching or locking when trying to move the knee
- Feeling that the knee is giving out from under you
- Inability to move the knee through its full range of motion
However, there are several conditions that can cause similar symptoms in the knee. It is important to seek a diagnosis from a qualified healthcare professional like Drs. Bowen, Malanga, and Agesen in order to completely evaluate and effectively treat the injury.
Our Treatment Approach for Meniscus Tears
The physicians at New Jersey Regenerative Institute believe in taking a comprehensive, hands-on approach to injury evaluation and treatment. We always base our recommendations on a thorough examination, medical history, lifestyle factors, and the latest research. Throughout your treatment process, you will always work directly with your doctor, rather than a physician assistant (PA) or nurse practitioner.
When a patient comes in for meniscus tear treatment, these are the steps we typically follow:
1. Complete a thorough exam and patient history.
As a first step, we always conduct a thorough medical exam, which may include imaging tests and a physical examination to review the biomechanics of the knee. We also conduct a thorough review of the patient’s medical history and previous treatment attempts for the meniscus tear. If the patient is working with a physical therapist, we also review the physical therapy process.
2. Discuss lifestyle modifications and changes to help with meniscus tear symptoms.
Certain lifestyle modifications can help improve symptoms of meniscus tears. In some cases, patients just need to take the time to allow the injury to heal. This may include resting and avoiding certain activities until symptoms begin to improve. Our physicians can also work with the patient’s physical therapist to modify the therapy routine, if needed.
3. Discuss additional nonsurgical options for meniscus tears.
Our practice specializes in nonsurgical and regenerative medicine options to treat meniscus tear symptoms. If lifestyle modifications and physical therapy do not provide adequate relief of symptoms, our doctors may recommend the following:
- Adipose/Fat Therapy - Adipose/fat therapy involves harvesting the patient’s own fat, then injecting it into the knee to provide additional cushioning to the knee. This can be very helpful in providing relief from meniscus tear symptoms.
- Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) - PRP injections may be recommended if there is significant swelling in the knee. PRP can help to reduce inflammation, which may also relieve pain and allow the patient to ease back into activity as the swelling goes down.
- A2M - It may also be recommended to try injections of Alpha-2-Macroglobulin (A2M) along with PRP. The A2M protein is found in plasma, and can also be helpful in reducing inflammation in the knee.
- Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate (BMAC) - This is a cellular procedure using material obtained from the patient’s own bone marrow. It may also be helpful for meniscus tear symptoms.
If patients have severe mechanical issues in the knee related to the meniscus tear, such as catching or locking, nonsurgical treatments may not be effective. In these cases, we may provide a referral to a surgeon if needed.
New Jersey Regenerative Institute frequently participates in research studies on the effectiveness of these procedures for orthopedic injuries and are happy to discuss our research findings with patients.
Recovering from Meniscus Tear Treatment
Because our treatments are nonsurgical, they tend to involve less downtime than a surgical procedure. Your activity levels will gradually be increased at the direction of your doctor, and patients are typically able to resume all normal activities within a month. During the recovery period, patients are generally advised to avoid taking anti-inflammatory medications, as they can interfere with the results of the procedure.
Nonsurgical Meniscus Tear Treatment in New Jersey
Drs. Bowen, Malanga, and Agesen each have over 20 years of experience in patient care and are board certified. They specialize in nonsurgical treatments for orthopedic injuries like meniscus tears and provide comprehensive plans to help relieve symptoms and get patients back to their normal activities. If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians, please call our office at 973-998-8309 or request an appointment via our online form.