Surgical fasteners and a method for repairing a tear in body tissue using the fastener are disclosed. The fastener includes a suture and an instrument for inserting the suture. The suture has a base member for seating against the body tissue, a shaft upstanding from the base member for inserting into the tissue and across the tear, and at least one barb for locking the shaft in place, holding the sides of the tear together. The surgical fastener is particularly adapted for repairing the meniscus at the knee joint. The meniscus is prepared by removing the tip or inner edge thereof to provide a flat surface through which to insert the suture and against which to seat the base member. The suture is inserted through the prepared surface internal to the joint and is outwardly directed. The suture passes through the tear area and joins together the two sides of the tear.