Various tear types

Keyhole (arthroscopic) views of various types of meniscal tears for reference

This section is intended to provide a guide to the various types of meniscus (cartilage) tears that are frequently seen at the time of surgery. It contains keyhole surgery pictures of different types of meniscus tear. The first picture is of a normal meniscus with no tears for comparison.

Various1Various2Various3Various4Note the worn joint surfaces above and below the meniscal tear


This type of tear can often be associated with a collection of joint fluid on the outer side of the meniscus (para-meniscal cyst)


Note that this meniscal tear is located at the outer rim of the meniscus in an area with good blood supply. This area sometimes known as the ‘red-red’ zone. The term ‘bucket handle tear’ is often associated with this pattern of injury.

As it is possible to see from the pictures the torn section of meniscus can displace (move) within the knee and often blocks the knee coming fully straight, sometimes known as a ‘locked knee’.

This type of cartilage tear requires early surgery and would usually be amenable to meniscal repair.