Et tu Shoulder Surgery?

By /

A recent publication by the Agency for Research and Quality that looked at conservative care vs. surgical repair for shoulder rotator cuff tears concluded that surgery provided no measurable benefit. This comes on the heels of other studies showing that orthopedic surgery for meniscus tears may have no benefit over physical therapy, 60% of knee surgery for ACL partial tears likely wasn’t needed, and knee surgery didn’t prevent the development of arthritis. Why all of these studies showing lack of efficacy for these surgeries on knees and shoulders?  Even arthroscopic surgery does a certain amount of damage to get the injured area into a state where it will heal.  In addition, removing parts of a joint (in a shoulder surgery often the end of the collar bone and the ligaments that help stabilize the front of the shoulder joint) can lead to more degeneration of the joint with time.  It’s a bit like repairing a car and having left over parts after the repair and then concluding that you didn’t need those extra parts in the first place.  All the parts are needed and we must be very careful about removing any of them (cutting ligaments, debriding cartilage out of the joint, removing pieces of labrum in a shoulder or meniscus in a knee).  The conclusion?  Orthopedic surgery is a God send for many trauma patients who need to be put back together and can help patients in select circumstances for common sports injuries, but the idea that routine surgery is needed for many problems like meniscus tears, joint arthritis, or torn ligaments, tendons, or muscles, doesn’t appear to be supported by the developing science.  We would advocate using injections in these circumstances (where appropriate and after physical therapy fails to solve the problem) to try to prompt the body to help heal itself.

Learn about Regenexx procedures for shoulder conditions.
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

If you have questions or comments about this blog post, please email us at [email protected]

NOTE: This blog post provides general information to help the reader better understand regenerative medicine, musculoskeletal health, and related subjects. All content provided in this blog, website, or any linked materials, including text, graphics, images, patient profiles, outcomes, and information, are not intended and should not be considered or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please always consult with a professional and certified healthcare provider to discuss if a treatment is right for you.

Get Blog Updates by Email

We do not sell, or share your information to third party vendors.

By submitting the form you agree that you’ve read and consent to our Privacy Policy. We may use email, phone, or other electronic means to communicate information about Regenexx.

We will provide information to help you decide whether you want to schedule an evaluation with a Regenexx Physician.

Insurance typically covers evaluations and diagnostic testing (if recommended). Most insurance plans currently do not cover Regenexx Procedures.

Copyright © Regenexx 2021. All rights reserved.



9035 Wadsworth Pkwy #1000
Westminster, CO 80021


*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.