Understanding what Happens when a Torn Knee Meniscus Displaces

by Chris Centeno, MD /

knee meniscus displaces

The knee has a shock absorber called the meniscus. When this structure is torn, it can often be operated using knee arthroscopy. In this surgery, many times parts of the meniscus are cut out. When this happens or when the meniscus gets smaller due to wear and tear, the knee meniscus displaces outside the joint (called displaced on an MRI report), robbing the knee of this valuable shock absorber and causing more trauma to the joint surfaces. In the pictures above, the left shows a normal knee. This is a cross section (front view) where the meniscus is acting as a spacer between the tibia and the femur bone. The yellow MCL (medial collateral ligament) acts like duct tape on the side of the knee, holding things together. Now look at the right picture. Here part of the meniscus has been surgically removed and the now much smaller meniscus is being spit out the side of the knee joint. In this case, the meniscus can no longer act as a shock absorber and the two joint surfaces now can easily crash together with every step. This loss of the meniscus as a spacer and shock absorber soon leads to more arthritis in this part of the knee. Also note that the MCL ligament is bowed out by the meniscus.

Now take a look at the picture above. It’s been turned 90 degrees so that now the MCL ligament on the side of the knee is facing up. This is what an image would look like if the patient was lying on his or her side. Again the meniscus is slipping outside of the joint because its just too small to act as a shock absorber.

Now for the hard part. Ultrasound is one way of imaging the knee. Above you see two ultrasound images, one taken before treatment on the left and one on the right two months into treatment. You see all the same structures that I’ve outlined above (meniscus now inside the dashed line). Note that in the before treatment image on the left, the patient has a small meniscus being spit out of the joint. The MCL (in yellow) is bowed and inside the dashed line there are multiple dark areas (on an ultrasound of the meniscus, dark=torn). The patient was told she would likely need a knee replacement on this side, but instead opted for the Regenexx-SCP and Regenexx-PL procedures (no bone marrow draw or adipose collection, simply an IV blood draw). Here the patient recieved a stem cell plasma and platelet lysate injection under ultrasound to exactly place cells into this torn, damaged, and displaced meniscus. This was not just a blind injection into the knee, but the use of imaging guidance by a highly skilled clinic physician (Ron Hanson, M.D.). The cells were placed directly into these tears and into the loose MCL ligament with millimeter precision. There was no surgery and since this was an injection, recovery was much quicker than arthroscopy. The right image tells the story. We now see much fewer dark areas in the meniscus (inside the dashed line) and the MCL ligament (yellow) is no longer bowed by a meniscus which is being spit outside the joint. Here’s what the patient said:

I wanted to comment on the injections I received in both my right and left knees at the Centeno Schultz Clinic in Broomfield from Dr. Ron Hanson. I had a torn lateral meniscus in my left knee.  Upon an MRI, it was discovered that the meniscus in my right knee had some problems as well. I had three injections in both knees.  My left knee was in bad shape and terribly painful.  I’m very active so wanted it repaired without surgery.  Two years ago I had arthroscopic surgery on the left meniscus and shortly after, it tore again. Upon receiving 3 stem cell injections, (the stem cells extracted from my blood platelets), my right knee is 100 % and my left knee is close.

In summary, this is an example of what accurate placement of stem cells in a knee can do. It specifically doesn’t mean that every patient will get this result. However, this is a patient that had failed surgery and was in severe pain, now improved because of an innovative injection technique that can be performed without the need for surgery.

Chris Centeno, MD

Regenexx Founder

Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications.
View Profile

Get Blog Updates by Email

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Regenerative procedures are commonly used to treat musculoskelatal trauma, overuse injuries, and degenerative issues, including failed surgeries.
Select Your Problem Area
Shoulder

Shoulder

Many Shoulder and Rotator Cuff injuries are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering shoulder arthroscopy or shoulder replacement, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.

  • Rotator Cuff Tears and Tendinitis
  • Shoulder Instability
  • SLAP Tear / Labral Tears
  • Shoulder Arthritis
  • Other Degenerative Conditions & Overuse Injuries
Learn More
Cervical Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Knee

Knees

Knees are the target of many common sports injuries. Sadly, they are also the target of a number of surgeries that research has frequently shown to be ineffective or minimally effective. Knee arthritis can also be a common cause for aging athletes to abandon the sports and activities they love. Regenerative procedures can be used to treat a wide range of knee injuries and conditions. They can even be used to reduce pain and delay knee replacement for more severe arthritis.

  • Knee Meniscus Tears
  • Knee ACL Tears
  • Knee Instability
  • Knee Osteoarthritis
  • Other Knee Ligaments / Tendons & Overuse Injuries
  • And more
Learn More
Lower Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Hand & Wrist

Hand & Wrist

Hand and wrist injuries and arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and conditions relating to overuse of the thumb, are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Hand and Wrist Arthritis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Trigger Finger
  • Thumb Arthritis (Basal Joint, CMC, Gamer’s Thumb, Texting Thumb)
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More
Elbow

Elbow

Most injuries of the elbow’s tendons and ligaments, as well as arthritis, can be treated non-surgically with regenerative procedures.

  • Golfer’s elbow & Tennis elbow
  • Arthritis
  • Ulnar collateral ligament wear (common in baseball pitchers)
  • And more
Learn More
Hip

Hip

Hip injuries and degenerative conditions become more common with age. Do to the nature of the joint, it’s not quite as easy to injure as a knee, but it can take a beating and pain often develops over time. Whether a hip condition is acute or degenerative, regenerative procedures can help reduce pain and may help heal injured tissue, without the complications of invasive surgical hip procedures.

  • Labral Tear
  • Hip Arthritis
  • Hip Bursitis
  • Hip Sprain, Tendonitis or Inflammation
  • Hip Instability
Learn More
Foot & Ankle

Foot & Ankle

Foot and ankle injuries are common in athletes. These injuries can often benefit from non-surgical regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Ankle Arthritis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Ligament sprains or tears
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More

Is Regenexx Right For You?

Request a free Regenexx Info Packet

REGENEXX WEBINARS

Learn about the #1 Stem Cell & Platelet Procedures for treating arthritis, common joint injuries & spine pain.

Join a Webinar

RECEIVE BLOG ARTICLES BY EMAIL

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to the Blog

FOLLOW US

Copyright © Regenexx 2019. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy

*DISCLAIMER: Like all medical procedures, Regenexx® Procedures have a success and failure rate. Patient reviews and testimonials on this site should not be interpreted as a statement on the effectiveness of our treatments for anyone else.

Providers listed on the Regenexx website are for informational purposes only and are not a recommendation from Regenexx for a specific provider or a guarantee of the outcome of any treatment you receive.