A new study published in December of 2013 in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that surgery does not benefit you if you have a meniscal tear. How would you know that you have a meniscal tear? A meniscal tear is usually diagnosed by MRI. Your doctor may suspect a meniscal injury before sending you for an MRI. This study had patients aged 35 – 65 years old with at least 3 months of knee pain that was thought to be caused by a meniscal tear. Some symptoms include joint pain, catching or locking, tenderness on exam by the physician. The study split the patients in half:
1) Half of the patients had partial meniscectomy (or removal of the partial meniscus).
2) The remaining half had “sham surgery” which means patients were put to sleep and cuts were made to imitate actual surgery.
The patients were then asked afterwards if their symptoms improved or worsened. The people asking the questions were blinded to the fact of whether they had real or sham surgery. They followed the patients for 1 year. They even asked if patients thought they had “sham surgery” or real surgery, and both groups answered the question similarly. By 6 months, there was minimal difference between sham and real surgery. At 12 months, both groups were clinically indistinguishable. The conclusion of this study further proves that not all knee problems need surgery. Before you go through with a surgery, you should speak with your family physician to see if this is a good idea. Also, you should not be afraid to ask your surgeon:
1) What is the likelihood of improvement with the surgery?
2) Will avoiding or delaying surgery also lead to improvement?
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) and Stem cell therapy is a great alternative for patients with knee pain (chronic or acute). Both of these options are injections that involve minimal downtime and huge success rates. For more information on PRP and Stem Cell Therapy. Please visit our dedicated webpages below:
1) Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections
2) Stem Cell Therapy
The Study (Summary):