Knee Meniscus Repair: The Great White Whale

By /

knee meniscus repair

Most patients who I have spoken to believe that their meniscus surgery was a knee meniscus repair. So was it? Not so much. How do we know? A recent study confirms that, despite the term being used liberally, what’s frequently done is often chopping out pieces of the torn meniscus rather than repairing anything. First some background. The knee meniscus is a shock absorbing structure that’s often torn in sports or as we age. Recent research has shown that in middle aged and elderly patients, patients that hurt have no more meniscus tears than those who have no pain. So the concept that we can point to a MRI with a meniscus tear and assume that it’s causing pain is not a sound one. Despite this, knee meniscus repair surgery or it’s uglier cousin, knee debridement surgery are still very common. Debridement means chopping out pieces of the meniscus, a practice that has been associated with less protection for the joint and more knee joint arthritis. Finally, knee meniscus surgery has recently been determined to be no better than plain old physical therapy. So what about knee meniscus repair?

The group in the new study looked at a national database and pulled the billing records of almost two hundred thousand surgeries performed between 2004 and 2009. What did they find about knee meniscus repair? It’s about as common as good ole Moby Dick. 96% of all knee meniscus surgeries were debridements with only 4% being repairs! In fact, the number of medial knee meniscus repair surgeries dropped by almost half from 2004 to 2009. In addition, the most common age where meniscus tear repair was used was in patients aged 10 to 19 years old! Why so young? Surgical meniscus repair only works (60% of the time) in the very young. The conclusions of the authors says it all, “A high frequency of meniscus debridement can be expected in arthroscopic knee surgery. Despite advances in meniscus repair techniques and devices, no increase occurred in the performance of meniscus repair compared with meniscectomy.” The upshot? For more than 9 in 10 patients, despite conceptualizing their surgery as a meniscus repair, what they really had was a chunk of their meniscus chopped out, which is usually not a good idea. “Thar she blows me mateys…”

Get health and wellness information from a trusted source.

By submitting the form, you are agreeing that you read and consent to our Privacy Policy. We may also contact you via email, phone, and other electronic means to communicate information about our products and services. We do not sell, or share your information to third party vendors.

Category: Knee, Latest News

Is Regenexx Right For You?

Request a free Regenexx Info Packet

REGENEXX WEBINARS

Learn about the #1 Stem Cell & Platelet Procedures for treating arthritis, common joint injuries & spine pain.

Join a Webinar

RECEIVE BLOG ARTICLES BY EMAIL

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to the Blog

CONTACT US

9035 Wadsworth Pkwy #1000
Westminster, CO 80021
888-525-3005

FOLLOW US

Copyright © Regenexx 2020. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy

*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.

LinkedIn
Email
TO TOP