We often tell patients to avoid knee meniscus surgery. Why? The meniscus is a key spacer and the rationale for surgery gets weaker by the year. For example, a recent study showed that physical therapy was as good as surgery for a knee meniscus tear. Not only have these surgeries been shown to be ineffective, a bigger concern is that cutting out pieces of the knee meniscus will only increase wear and tear on the cartilage. For example, a study several years ago showed that knee meniscus surgery alters the normal bio mechanics of walking. In addition, other research shows that 60% of patients get knee arthritis within a few years of meniscus surgery. Now this new study confirms that knee meniscus surgery is associated with more cartilage loss on a follow-up MRI taken on average 7 years later. In patients without meniscectomy (knee meniscus surgery), cartilage loss was observed in 38% (15/39) compared with 76% (28/37) in patients with meniscectomy, (P = 0.0001). The upshot? If you let someone operate on your knee meniscus tear, there’s little evidence it will help. In addition, more concerning, is that research continues to connect these surgeries with all sorts of problems including cartilage loss and arthritis. In summary, the research continues to show that knee meniscus surgery is a really bad idea.
About the Author
Christopher J. Centeno, M.D. is an international expert and specialist in regenerative medicine and the clinical use of mesenchymal stem cells in orthopedics. He is board certified in physical medicine as well as rehabilitation and in pain management through The American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.…