As one of the most complex joints in the body, the knee is in almost constant motion. Knee stability allows people to run, jump and twist, but it also means considerable stress on the knee. With four bones, supporting and stabilizing cartilage, multiple ligaments and tendon attachments, when something does go wrong there are a lot of possibilities.
A meniscus is a crescent-shaped piece of thick, fibrous cartilage in the knee between the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone). An injury to the knee can tear the meniscus. In a partial meniscectomy, a section of the damaged cartilage must be removed. An arthroscope is a surgical instrument that allows the surgeon to see and work inside the joint through one or more small incisions.
When severe injuries, arthritis or degenerative disease take their toll on the knee, the surgeon removes damaged bone and cartilage, resurfacing the structures with metal and plastic components. If the damage is limited to just one area of the knee, a partial joint replacement may be sufficient. This procedure is done through a smaller incision, which means faster healing and an earlier return to normal activities.
The patellofemoral joint is the area where the femur (thighbone) and patella (kneecap) come together. The joint line, as the name implies, is the area along which the two bones meet. The patient usually feels pain in the front of the knee, which is worse with climbing stairs. Conservative therapy is often helpful. Surgery may be necessary to correct poor alignment of the knee or cartilage loss of the patellofemoral joint.
OATS is an acronym for Osteoarticular Transfer System. In the OATS procedure, damaged knee cartilage is surgically removed and replaced with small plugs of healthy cartilage from another part of the knee. OATS is used in patients who have small areas of cartilage damage; it is not suitable for more widespread damage.
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