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What Is Discoid Lateral Meniscal Tear In Children?

Apollo Hospitals, Chennai has performed a procedure that transformed a girl child's life. Dr. Vijay Kishore Reddy and team successfully completed a corrective procedure on a 7-year-old girl who was affected by discoid lateral meniscus tears, an abnormal condition in children.

The young girl began experiencing severe pain in the right knee, with difficulty in walking and restricted right knee movements. She had difficulty in sitting down, climbing stairs, and playing for the past several months due to severe pain in the knee, and hence was admitted to the hospital where the group of expert doctors advised that the young child has Discoid Lateral Meniscal Tear, an abnormal condition very rarely reported in children.

What Is Discoid Lateral Meniscus Tear?

The meniscus is a wedge-shaped piece of cartilage located between the bones of the knee and acts as a cushion to protect the bones during movement [1]. There are two menisci in the knee, the medial meniscus on the inside of the knee, and the lateral meniscus on the outside.

Healthy menisci are shaped like crescent moons but in the case of a discoid meniscus (unhealthy), it will be thicker than normal, and often oval or disc-shaped and is more prone to injury than a normally shaped meniscus [2].

The meniscus is a soft piece of cartilage that acts as a shock absorber to protect the knee. There are two of these C-shaped pads in each knee and they are crescent-shaped. A discoid meniscus is thicker than normal and has a different shape and texture. It is more likely to be injured than a normally shaped meniscus.

People with discoid meniscus may go through their entire lives without experiences any symptoms or discomfort. And if a discoid meniscus does not cause pain or discomfort, no treatment is needed [3]. However, in severe cases, the symptoms often begin during childhood, which was the case of the young patient.

While a discoid meniscus is present from birth, injuries can occur with twisting motions to the knee, usually during pivoting motion or changes in direction while playing sports. When a discoid meniscus is causing pain, popping, or other symptoms, arthroscopic surgery is recommended by orthopaedic surgeons [4].

How Does Arthroscopic Surgery Help With Orthopaedic Complications?

Arthroscopy also called arthroscopic or keyhole surgery is a minimally invasive surgical procedure on a joint in which an examination and sometimes treatment of damage is performed using an arthroscope, an endoscope that is inserted into the joint through a small incision [5][6].

Surgical treatment is often recommended for patients with this condition. The child underwent arthroscopic lateral discoid meniscus saucerisation and repair which was done completely through keyhole procedure, with sophisticated instrumentation designed specifically for the children.

Saucerisation is a surgical procedure performed to treat a discoid (disc-shaped) meniscus in the knee joint which is more prone to injury [7].

According to the doctors at Apollo, "active children and teenagers sometimes can have structural injuries to their knees. The meniscus, which is shock-absorbing cartilage in the knee, can tear; often these painful injuries are treated surgically, using a minimally invasive procedure called arthroscopy. The surgeons repair or trim torn meniscus cartilages, which can relieve pain and cure the injury. In this case, the child already had an abnormal discoid meniscus which had a tear."

After surgery, your doctor may put your child's knee in a brace or a soft bandage wrap. The child may need to use crutches for a short period of time, and very young children may need a wheelchair for several weeks. Once the initial healing is complete, your doctor may prescribe physical therapy exercises to restore strength and mobility

The Changing Trend Of Orthopaedic Surgery

Keyhole surgeries or arthroscopy in orthopaedics are changing the perspective of people towards the surgeries. In the past, the public was sceptic in getting surgeries due to the prolonged hospital stay, and recovery time. This has ended many patients' sports careers and people kept on suffering from illness and its ailments [8].

Compared to classical open surgeries keyhole surgeries offers small surgical wounds, less pain, less blood loss along with faster recovery and healing. The patient can come to the hospital, get operated and walk back home all in one single day. Keyhole surgeries can be done for hip, knee, ankle, shoulder, wrist. And complete recovery to their previous lifestyle without any scar is possible.

On A Final Note...

The young girl is the youngest kid who has undergone a complete keyhole procedure for discoid meniscus in India. After seven months of misery, her parents saw their child walking effortlessly on the same day of surgery. When she was discharged on the next day, without any difficulty she walked through the hospital corridors all by herself, according to the hospital statement.

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