Knee Surgery for a Meniscus Tear? Not if You’re Middle Aged…

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knee surgery for a meniscus tear

Should you get knee surgery for a meniscus tear? According to recent research, not if you’re middle aged or older, since it’s likely that the tear seen on MRI has nothing to do with your knee pain.

This may come as a surprise, but let me explain. This has been a rough time for orthopedic surgery. As the calls for more research-based care ramp up, the results on common orthopedic knee surgeries like “cleaning up the knee” and “repairing or trimming a meniscus” have been dismal, basically showing that these surgeries don’t work. While many surgeons keep defending these cash cows and somehow the general public has missed the memo that these surgeries are ineffective, the academics are busy publishing papers shouting that it’s time to give them up. Case in point is a recent editorial in the prestigious journal Acta Orthopedica.

The Most Common Orthopedic Surgery in America is Ineffective

Knee arthroscopy is by far the most common orthopedic surgery performed today and most of these are for painful middle aged knee meniscus tears or debridement for arthritis. This is despite the fact that high level research has shown that these two procedures are ineffective for relieving pain. So why are patients allowing these surgeries to be performed? Most have no idea that the surgeries have little therapeutic value.

The fact that patients don’t know that these procedures don’t work isn’t from lack of mass media coverage. The New York Times has a nice piece explaining that a fake surgery or physical therapy is often just as good as the invasive surgery. I’ve also blogged on a slew of high quality studies showing that knee surgery is ineffective.

Yet Another Call to Abandon Ship

In a very cheeky U.K. way, the British Medical Journal had an editorial citing the “Scandalously Poor” evidence behind many common orthopedic surgery procedures like knee arthroscopy. Now the newest call for orthopedic surgeons to throw in the towel on treating middle aged knee pain with surgery is entitled, “Routine knee arthroscopic surgery for the painful knee in middle-aged and old patients—time to abandon ship”. Based on how bad the outcome data is for surgery for knee pain, all of the Titanic references are indeed warranted.

Some great quotes from this newest paper:

“In spite of these early reports, middle-aged and older patients with a painful knee and suspected meniscus or cartilage lesion have become by far the most common patient group to be treated with arthroscopic knee surgery. Thus, 3 out of 4 patients who are treated arthroscopically for suspected meniscus rupture, cartilage lesion, or osteoarthritis of the knee are reported to be older than 35, the typical patient being between 35 and 65 years old and most often in their early fifties (Roos and Lohmander 2009, Cullen et al. 2009, Bohensky et al. 2012, Dearing and Brenkel 2010, Thorlund et al. 2014).”

Translation? If the patient is older with any signs of arthritis, we’ve known since the 80s that surgery was unlikely to be helpful.

The Beginning of the End for Surgery for Middle Aged Knee Pain

“It took some 20 years after the general introduction of knee arthroscopic surgery, with millions of patients treated, before the first randomized controlled trial was published (Moseley et al. 2002).”

The Mosely study being referenced was the beginning of the end for knee arthroscopy for middle aged knee pain, showing that a fake placebo surgery had the same results as the real deal. Despite years of protestations from surgeons that these surgeries really were effective, rates for this type of debridement surgery (a.k.a. “clean-up surgery”) for knee arthritis have fallen since 2002, with most surgeons increasingly unwilling to perform the procedure.

The editorial continues:

“To date, at least 8 additional randomized trials investigating the effect of debridement and/ or arthroscopic partial meniscectomy have been published…All but 1 of these 9 trials of arthroscopic surgery in middle-aged or older people with persistent knee pain failed to show any added benefit of interventions including arthroscopic surgery over a variety of control treatments.”

Translation: Based on the research we have, operating on a painful knee, regardless of the MRI findings of a “torn meniscus“,  is a pretty silly idea as several studies now show that the surgery is no better than a placebo.

Why Are We Still Operating on Middle Aged Knee Pain?

The editorial really hits the nail on the head by concluding:

“There are other possible contributory factors to a lack of implementation of high-level evidence contrary to unquestioned routine. One example is the influence of the organization of the care pathway on procedure rates, where systems can create perverse incentives, with success and remuneration being dependent on volume rather than patient outcome (Hamilton and Howie 2015). Another example is the MR examination early in the care pathway of the middle-aged or older patient with a painful knee showing a meniscus lesion. Demonstrating the presence of such a lesion is bound to increase the likelihood of an arthroscopic procedure, irrespective of the clinical relevance of the lesion.”

The translation? Surgery is a huge multi-billion dollar business with multiple stakeholders that benefit including doctors, hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, device manufacturers, etc… Stopping that financial train is not something that surgeons are likely to do willingly. In addition, middle aged patients have been taught incorrectly that a meniscus tear seen on MRI is a problem causing pain that needs to be fixed surgically, despite years of research showing that a mythical evil unicorn living inside their knee is about as likely to be the cause of their knee pain as the meniscus tear. We have said before that meniscus tears in middle aged and older patients are as common as wrinkles and about as significant, so that tear seen in the knee meniscus of a painful knee likely has nothing to do with why the knee hurts.

In conclusion:

“Available evidence supports the reversal of a common medical practice. It is time to abandon ship.”

That sentence needs no translation.

The upshot? While there are a few circumstances where you can make the argument that these surgeries are needed (i.e. a locking knee due to a torn meniscus), those surgeries constitute just a small fraction of the total procedures performed. In the meantime, the public continues to get hoodwinked into believing that knee arthroscopy is needed when the knee hurts and an MRI shows a random meniscus tear. Hopefully, the public and surgeons will begin getting the memo that the academics are now shouting from the roof tops!

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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.

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78 thoughts on “Knee Surgery for a Meniscus Tear? Not if You’re Middle Aged…

  1. M Downie

    Unfortunately, the news has not reached The Orthopedic Institute (TOI), Gainesville, Florida of some 20 orthopedic docs.
    I plan to print and mail the above article to one of them as they do not allow access to their office email for patients, for direct emailing!

    1. Regenexx Team

      M Downie,
      Sounds like a great plan…hope they read it! It might be what begins what eventually changes everything! Doctors in general are truly dedicated to helping people. It’s that they have been trained by a paradigm which treats things surgically, and unfortunately the information that those surgeries so often do more harm than good and that there are regenerative procedures that would be better for the patients, while clearly out there, have not filtered down into the system in which they operate.

      1. Dennis McClain

        What would you recommended procedure for a hurting painful knee?

        1. Regenexx Team

          The first step is determining what the problem is. We’d need to see a current MRI and medical history, which you can upload by submitting the Candidate form. If you are local to a Regenexx provider we can see what’s going on and handle the Candidacy Evaluation in person. Once we know what the problem is, we can discuss treatment options. Here is the list of Regenexx providers:

  2. louise casey

    If you have had ortho in one kneww no mini in 22ndknee. Numerous steri shots in both knees. The slang term: blue chicken comb gel; in both knees. Much worse in lft. With some minic syoll thetr. Would it be sage , in your opinion to shoot steriod shot in both knees fue yo severe pain? I have yo mske a chg.

    1. Regenexx Team

      “Blue Chicken Comb Gel” sounds like hyaluronic acid, a Symvist type product which attempts to replace your own lubrication in the knee joint. It can help, but needs to be done repeatedly and has no repair potential, so like squirting WD40 into a hinge that actually needs repair. It will help the squeak, but not the problem. It is, however, a very much better option than repetitive steroid shots, as they literally kill the local stem cells and therefore make the situation worse over time. Stopping steroid shots, adding in the right supplements ( 4th paragraph) and getting some type of regenerative procedure like platelet or stem cells is what would change to repair rather than damage to avoid knee replacement.

  3. Jeannie Heth

    Hi Dr Centeno,
    I began educating myself for alternative ways to avoid knee replacement and contacted Dr Mayo Friedlis who treated me in April for advanced osteoarthritis of my left knee. Fortunately I never let anyone ” clean up my knee” . I’m so grateful that you are committed to providing a better way to heal the human body and are fervently proclaimly this to your peers and through the Regenexx Network of providers.
    Since my stem cell procedure in April my knee pain is gone! I trusted your databased evidence and daily blog to guide me for treatment and I’m so grateful that I did!
    Living Life more Fully in Charlotte,

    1. Regenexx Team


      Such wonderful news! Thank you so much for sharing it! I forwarded your letter to Dr. Centeno…
      “So great to hear about your success!” ~ Dr. Centeno

  4. John Warner

    As a 52 year old male with recently torn meniscus evident on a MRI, what are the recommendations here in light of your post that a knee arthroscopy would be ineffective ?

    1. Regenexx Team

      Depends on the type of tear. Small meniscus tears caused by wear and tear are unlikely to be the cause of pain and can be found on the MRI’s of most middle-aged and older people . A meniscus tear caused by specific traumatic injury is a different. So the most important thing is an evaluation and exam by someone who can figure out what’s causing the pain; whether there are unstable tendons or ligaments, or nerve issues in the back altering the biomechanics of the knee, etc. And treating those issues with regenerative therapies like your own platelets and stem cells that can correct and repair those problems before they create bigger ones.

  5. Linda Cochran

    I am a 66 year old female and 1 1/2 years ago had surgery to remove a meniscus tear and clean up the knee. The pain did subside for a few months, and when steroid shots quit working, I had the series of supartz shots. They have helped alleviate some pain, but the knee, even after PT, is still very unstable and I am becoming knock-kneed. I am bone on bone, and Dr. is recommending a total knee replacement, so I sought a second opinion…same outcome. Since my knee seems to be so far gone, would the stem cell treatment be effective now and in the long term.

    1. Regenexx Team

      Unfortunately the instability is likely coming from the missing meniscus, as it acts as both shock absorber and spacer. The Supartz shots are a much better idea than the steroid shots as while they don’t have regenerative potential at least they don’t kill the stem cells in the knee like steroid shots do. It sounds like your knee has advanced arthritis which is a very common complication of meniscus surgery, but knee replacement is irreversible, and trying all less invasive options first is always the best plan. The instability can be helped by strengthening and tightening the lax ligaments which result from the missing meniscus altering the biomechanics of the knee, and getting stem cells into the knee could at best sort things, at worse, at least delay the knee replacement for a few years. Joint replacements in real life don’t last as long as they’re advertised to, and, joint replacement is a huge surgery with risks and complications.

  6. Dalila

    I am a 40 year old female with degenerative meniscus and my knee locks. I would prefer not to have surgery, but I just read on this site that a locking knee would be improved by surgery. What do you recommend?

    1. Regenexx Team

      Often tightening the ligaments through injection can help with the locking.

  7. Jenry

    I’m 50 years old male with a complete miniscus tear. My doctor recommend surgery to remove the bad cartilage.
    Will stem work for me?

    1. Regenexx Team


      What your doctor must be referring to is cutting away the torn pieces of meniscus, as removing cartilage would be highly unusual. Both are made of similar type tissue. Stem cells would definitely be the better option as healing what’s torn in place rather than removing it has much better long-term results for your knee. The meniscus is a shock absorber, and when pieces of it are removed, it creates instability in the knee and the actual cartilage begins to wear down, which all sets the stage for severe arthritis. Here is how we treat meniscus tears:

  8. Bob Eb

    I had both knees scoped (one at 50 yrs of age, one at 54) and both relieved the pain and allowed me to run again.

    1. Regenexx Team

      Great to hear! Consider yourself one of the lucky few! Just be on the lookout for instability issues going forward, and deal with them quickly if they come up.

    2. melissa barcomb

      I am one of the lucky few as well – both knees done a few years apart and seem to be holding up well.

      1. Regenexx Team

        Always love to hear that something worked! Just don’t ignore issues in your knees, ankles, feet, or hips going forward as biomechanics affect other parts of the system.

  9. teresa wilson

    Where do i get this stem cell and how costly is it?

    1. Regenexx Team

      We have 31 locations. This link allows you to put in your city and state and will show you the closest to you: This link will give you information about how we treat knees with stem cells: These are medical procedures based on exam. Some situations require platelets rather than stem cells, and platelet procedures are in the $1K range. If stem cells are needed, those procedures are in the $4-6K range.

  10. M Downie

    I have discussed stem cell option for knee osteoporosis (having had a series of steroid injections, followed by meniscus arthroscopy, followed by orthovisc injections- none of them effective), with two orthopedic surgeons, who are prepared to do total knee replacement at The Orthopedic Institute, Gainesville, but they say SC is for young people only, and of course warn that insurance does not cover it.

    1. Regenexx Team

      M Downie,
      They are correct that insurance does not cover it. However, they are wrong that it is for young people. Our research and outcome data shows that age has nothing to do with outcome: Important to avoid steroid injections though, as they are lethal to the stem cells in your knee and can only make the situation worse. Here is what we do: This is a very important read, as it goes over questions that need to be answered before even considering a knee replacement. There are also good suggestions for supplements that can help:

  11. joe Coffee

    It is strange that insurance covers arthroscopic surgery and not the stem cell procedure. Where’s the research that justifies the arthroscopic approach?

  12. Bart Nelson

    I am also concerned as to why insurance will not cover the procedures. Had total knee on the left knee one year after having a meniscus surgery that didn’t help relieve the pain. also had steroids and rooster comb. now the right knee has a meniscus tear. Had one steroid shot, with no relief. You have me concerned about having it scoped. The high cost of your treatment is a barrier to me having your procedure.

    1. Regenexx Team

      The procedures are not covered simply because it takes the insurance industry a good amount of time to catch up. Years ago, most heart issues were treated surgically. Someone figured out that those same issues could be more safely addressed through a catheter (angiogram, angioplasty, stents) and today issues that previously required cutting through the breastbone and stopping the heart, are now done that way. This is where we are with Interventional Orthopedics; in time, orthopedic surgery will be used for only those cases where no options exist…no more menisectomies, ACL surgeries, etc.
      The problem with arthroscopy for a meniscus tear is that rather than sewing the meniscus back together, the torn sections are removed, which ultimately leaves the joint unstable and exposes the articular cartilage to wear and tear. It’s simply a better and safer option to treat the injury which, since it hasn’t healed on its own means the local stem cells are not up to the job, by sending in the troops so to say with your own stem cells. You might consider beginning with a platelet procedure like Regenexx SCP, (which is more powerful than PRP and significantly less expensive than stem cells) to get things going in the direction of repair rather than breakdown. Steroid shots really should be avoided, as they kill the local stem cells making the situation worse, not better.

  13. Jill F

    I have just floated across this information.
    I had two meniscus tears in my left knee which bought instant pain ehilst at the Mall. I could barely get back to the car. Could hardly walk with such pain.
    Three weeks later I had Arthroscopic surgery to clean the floaty bits of meniscus and two tears.
    Almost three years to the day and still all ss well with my knee.
    I’m happy with my result and feel I should share this with you.
    My Ortho did an excellent job on this older than middle aged lady. ☺

    1. Regenexx Team

      Really glad it helped! There most important indication for meniscus surgery is a locked meniscus which makes walking incredibly painful and sometimes not possible. The issue is meniscus surgery when the knee hurts and a tear to the meniscus is found on MRI, without establishing that meniscus tear as the source of pain, as most do not cause pain. There are always going to be people a procedure that does generally not help, helps; and a procedure that generally helps, does not help.

  14. Cindy G

    I have three degenerative tears in my right knee. The lateral is not bothering me at all but the two medial tears are causing significant swelling all the way down to my foot. The pain is not so bad when walking but descending stairs is very painful. What are my best options? I’m 59 years old

    1. Regenexx Team

      You age is average for Regenexx knee procedures. Your best option would be to avoid meniscus surgery (!) and have one of our physicians see what’s actually going on, and why for instance you have these degenerative changes in that particular knee. Here is the list of Physicians who can do that kind of exam. You can also submit the candidate form to upload a recent MRI and get started that way. Please see:

  15. Bob

    Hi Doctor,

    I’m 33, male and just found out from a MRI that I had torn my meniscus. I’m terrified of having surgery and I almost refused to. I can still walk and put weight without pain. The only time I experience a sharp pain on my medial meniscus is when I accidentally flick my feet when walking (bring the foot in front) causing a twisting motion. This is what the impression was from the doctor.

    Complex flap tear of posterior horn of medial meniscus, extending into the posterior meniscal root attachment. Anterior horn, body, and posterior horn lateral meniscus are intact.

    Mild superficial fibrillation of medial femoral condyle articular cartilage.

    Mild joint effusion and synovitis.

    Intact cruciate and collateral ligaments.

    May I pleaseif stem cell would be effective in my case? If so, how much this would cost? Would it be a crazy amount that the average person cannot afford?

    1. Chris Centeno Post author

      Yes, meniscus surgery is not a good idea, see What you describe can also be caused by a loose ACL/ALL ligament complex, which is something that wouldn’t be diagnosed on an MRI.

      1. Bob

        With those factors, would I be considered a good candidate? And What would the cost be for a procedure like this?

        1. Bob

          Is there an age range that I must be in in order to receive treatment?

          1. Regenexx Team

            Age is not a factor.

        2. Regenexx Team

          We’d need more information, which is why all Candidates go through the Candidacy process. To do that, please submit the “Are you a Candidate” form here:

  16. Candy Doll

    OMG. I was 59 in pain for 3 months with my right knee. My doctor sent me to orthopedic doctor. He took MRI. Said No tear it was age, weight and arthritis. I was still in pain for 6 more months, difficulty to teach 1st graders. Went back to my own doctor AGAIN who happened to be knowledgeable in sports medicine as well. He thought I had a tear so he referred me to a different (older) orthopedic doctor. This orthopedic doctor looked at same MRI that had been done. He manipulated by knee back and forth while in his office, yes it hurt. He said he would go in for an exploratory since he could not see anything on the MRI but arthritis. GUESS WHAT… I had a big tear that he repaired. In two weeks I was a new person. SO DON’T TELL ME THAT OLDER PEOPLE DON’T NEED SURGERY!!!!

    1. Regenexx Team

      Great news that it helped in your case, and hope it continues to! We weren’t saying older people don’t need surgery, we were saying in the majority of cases meniscus surgery isn’t needed because most meniscus tears can be actually repaired, instead of trimmed, or pieces of it cut out, or removed, which leave sections of the knee unprotected and lead to longterm instability. And importantly, the meniscus tear is often not the cause of pain and there are other issues that need to be addressed. The older we get, the more surgery using general anesthesia should be avoided when possible. Please see: and and and

  17. Aaron

    Hi Doc,

    I tore my lateral meniscus when I was 21 playing basketball however when I went in for a CT scan back then the results were not conclusive of a tear. Fast forward to today where I am 34 and had an MRI scan last year (some swelling was preventing normal range of motion for knee) that concluded a radial tear at the free margin of the anterior body and peripheral aspect of the anterior horn of the lateral meniscus with the meniscal fragment folded inferiorly and posterialy, to lie inferior and slightly lateral to the body of the lateral meniscus (whatever this means).

    When the physician consulted me last year, he said if I had of come to him when I was 21 he could have operated on me but the torn piece is no longer really intact to make a repair?

    With regards to your article, where would I fit for surgery (repair or removal) and what does my type of tear mean to me going forward?


    1. Regenexx Team

      We’d need to see the images themselves in a candidacy review to advise. To do that, please submit the candidate form to the right of the blog, or call 855 622 7838 for assistance with that process.

  18. Harley

    Hello. I am a 54 yr old female. I have never had a problem with my knees. About a year ago, I slipped, and missed a bottom step. My foot stayed in place, but my knee twisted, and popped. I went down. I opted to not have the MRI at the time, and it got better in a couple of weeks, but never 100%. Recently it started acting up again. Then it got to the point I could not walk. I had the MRI, and the doctor said it showed that the meniscus is torn, and the piece is actually flipping back and forth. He has set up surgery, and stated that he can repair it. However, I don’t like the idea of surgery. He also stated that I show no signs of arthritis in my knees, and the fluids look good. Not sure what to do, after everything I have read.

    1. Regenexx Team

      This type of tear is treatable, but only with the right procedures, guidance, technology and training. Please see: and and To see if your particular case would be a Candidate, please submit the Candidate form to the right of the Blogs or call 855 622 7838

  19. Lisa

    I have a meniscus tear in my left knee had an MRI done I put off surgery both my knees are in pain only when I walk and I walk 10 to 12 miles a day at work I cant straighten my left leg. Should I have the surgery? And if I don’t will my knees keep getting worse? Thanks

    1. Chris Centeno Post author

      The surgery has been shown to be ineffective for all indications, so no, based on the research, you should avoid the surgery.

  20. Richard Knoll

    62 year old just had surgery pertaining to a torn meniscus. After recovery and being released was presented with the paperwork for discharge (which included pictures of my knee before repair) the staff was extremely professional and conducted themselves in a very professional manner!!!! I will thank them for a job well done upon my follow-up appointment tomorrow. Let us not forget that there are still some very professional surgeons out there and I was lucky enough to find one. Sincerely R.W.Knoll

    1. Regenexx Team

      Hi Richard,
      There are wonderful surgeons who do great work. The issue is while there are a small percentage of situations in which meniscus surgery is needed, in the vast majority of cases there are better less invasive options which unlike meniscus surgery, can prevent arthritis rather than lead to it. Hoping you beat the odds! Please see:

  21. Hank

    I had a tibia plateau fracture 10 months ago. 2 plates, 20 + screws and my tibia and femur are now bone on bone. I can’t bend my knee and lift other leg off the ground without falling. I had 1 cortisone shot 6 months ago that worked for 6 weeks, tried gel-one injection which didn’t work. Last week I had another cortisone injection and it did nothing. Next steps is to have surgery to remove all the plates and screws and after that is healed a total knee is being recommended. I am unable to stand more than 5 minutes without extreme pain and I am unable to do leg press or leg lifts that require me to bend my knee due to how painful it is (I have trouble walking for days afterwards as well).

    I am wondering after I have the hardware removed it this treatment would work to alleviate the pain in my knee due to the bone on bone I have going on now.

    1. Regenexx Team

      Hi Hank,
      We’d need more information through a Candidacy review to see if we can help. To do that, please submit the Candidate form here: and the team will contact you to set that up.

  22. Angela Owens

    Hello, I am 54 and i had a meniscus tear on January 14th had a slip an fall on ice.Had mumiscus surgery they cleaned up on Aprial10 well i am now dealing with pain in the same area, my leg has been buckling and giving out on me. I have fell servial times. I have been going to physical therapy and that has not helped the pain.altho it has straighten my leg a bit. What do you think.

    1. Regenexx Team

      Hi Angela,
      We explain some of the issues with Meniscus surgery clean ups here: We’d need to examine you to determine what’s going on in an individual case. To do that, please submit the candidate form here: or give us a call at 855 622 7838 to set up an exam.

  23. Carol

    I do have a miniscus year & told I need surgery. If I don’t have surgery, what will I do about pain?

    1. Regenexx Team

      Hi Carol,
      The meniscus tear can be treated without the issues caused by meniscus surgery. Please see: But importantly, meniscus tears are often not the source of the pain, so an exam able to accurately diagnose the source of the pain is needed first. Please see: If you’d like to set up an exam, please give us a call at 855 622 7838.

  24. Lourdes Williams

    I am pretty convinced that an arthroscopy would be worthless.
    I had a swallen knee for the longest time. But, it didn’t hurt, which sounds weird. I wa able to walk for miles. About 4 months ago, the knee started hurting do to some extra exercise. I finally found an Orthopedic and he suggested a cortisone shot. It seemed to help. But, not really. I will go for therapy for one month. The doctor suggested surgery if pain continues after one month of therapy. Needless to say, I won’t be able to follow doctor’s advice.

  25. Amir reza homayouni sarvestani

    Completely true I fall off the ice and Fter 2 months mild pain I did arthroscopic. I is all repair and minisectomy after surgery .y pain get very very worse I cannot run again I am 49 years old I regret I did surgery

  26. Patricia "Trish" Taylor

    I am a 71 year old woman with two torn meniscus in my right knee – confirmed by MRI. I have been to three doctors to try and get them to fix it, but they have all refused. I don’t have bad knee pain, and very slight arthritis, nothing I can’t handle. But if I turn my knee a certain way, the tissue is caught between the bones and until it decides to release, I can’t straighten out my leg, can’t stand up and certainly can’t walk. When that happens, the pain is excruciating. Is there anything I can do to avoid having these episodes? I wear a knew brace in the daytime and have learned how not to move my leg. But the last several times it has happened is when I was in bed, half asleep. It is frightening and painful. The last surgeon said that when the arthritis gets bad enough, they will do a knee replacement. That could be years. I am very active and don’t want to deal with the possibility of my knee locking up at an inopportune time. What do you suggest?

    1. Regenexx Team

      Hi Trish,
      Yes. Please see: and To see if we can help in your case, we’d need more information. To do that, please use the “Are You a Regenexx Candidate” button here:

  27. Hailey

    Hello, I injured my knee when I was 18, it locked and I couldn’t bend my knee it was very painful. The MRI showed a meniscus tear so I got the scope surgery and they told me they ended up having to just remove the whole thing because it was complety shredded. I’m now 30 and that knee hasn’t given me any problems until now (12 years since the scope surgery). I some how injured my other knee while walking around in NYC for vacation. I began limping around because of the pain and had to rent a wheel chair and crutches. Because of the injury in my left knee I’ve had to put extra weight on my non meniscus knee (Right knee) and now I’ve been feeling pain and weakness in the right knee which tells me I probably have arthritis. I have an MRI scheduled to see what is going on with my other injured knee (left knee) but I’m worried about the knee with no meniscus and what my options could be. I’m feeling really bummed and down about what my quality of life will be only being 30 years old and no meniscus. Is there anything non surgical that can be done being bone on bone so young?

    1. Chris Centeno, MD Post author

      Meniscus replacement is an option (allograft), but we have seen mixed results with this procedure. Other options might include procedures like the Regenexx-SD procedure.

  28. Aretha

    My right knee have been hurting for 3 months and now I am going to have a MIR done but the doctor give me a shot an it work in my knee so do I still need a MI R done

    1. Regenexx Team

      Hi Aretha,
      An MRI is an important tool for diagnosis and treatment, but only when combined with a thorough exam. Gel shots like Synvisc which are Hylauronic acid are fine and can often help for a few months. But steroid shots make the situation worse in the long run. Please see:

  29. MGaul75

    I have just had this surgery Dec 2019, and before surgery I could not bend my knee to sit on the toilet without pain so great I would get tears in my eyes! I have stiffness and some mild now after surgery but NO pain sitting down on the toilet! It is very early to tell if this will continue for some reasonable amount of time, but at this point I am very thankful that I had this surgery done! Could all this talk of this surgery not working be just to perform larger more costly knee replacements instead?

  30. Joe Giancola

    Good morning,

    I had surgery yesterday for what my ortho said was a complex torn meniscus. When he went in it wasn’t torn. Is that something that is generally missed? He spoke to my wife while I was in recovery and told her my ACL was loose. When I called the nurse at the office later on to find out exactly what was going on she said it was an ACL tear. This all doesn’t make much sense and not sure how to proceed. Not in much pain at all after procedure.


    1. Regenexx Team

      Hi Joe,
      MRI reports (hopefully an MRI was done) are written to rule surgery in or out. It takes a highly skilled Regenerative Medicine Physician to read from the images directly, not the report, what is wrong and can be fixed without surgery. Here’s an example: What did they do in the surgery?

  31. Barbara Basy

    I had surgery November 13 for torn meniscus root . I knew up front that recovery would be more challenging. I’m 69, obese and on Remicade for Crohns. I did this to avoid knee replacement which would be inevitable with arthritis and removing the meniscus. Medicine is an art as well as a science.I csn only hope to return to full use after I regain muscle strength.

    1. Regenexx Team

      Hi Barbara,
      Hoping it all goes well! For future reference we can usually help avoid the surgery.

  32. Tim

    I am 52 years old and recently tore my meniscus at work. One horizontal tear created a second vertical tear according to the MRI. My surgeon stated that the damaged area can not be repaired but can be removed or sliced away. The estimated recovery time is six to eight weeks. My job is very demanding physically, walking 4 to 5 miles per day and carrying deliveries. After reading this article, I am concerned about the possibility of the pain remaining after the surgery is performed and how much I can tolerate while working. Should I just leave it alone and wait for it to heal on it’s own? What other options are there?

    1. Regenexx Team

      Hi Tim,
      Please see: We’d need to see the imaging to advise. To do that, please use the Candidate button here:

  33. Lorette Grace

    Why did my surgeon not inform me the meniscus surgery would not help me prior to doing the surgery? I had the surgery 7/9/19 and have been in excruciating pain ever since. This surgeon retired right before my 6 week check up. I so much wish I had never had this surgery! I was scheduled for TKR 2/20/20. When I went to the dentist for a routine cleaning a few days before, the dentist said I had severe periodontal disease and a yeast infection in my mouth. I was supposed to go back to the dentist 4/8/20 to make sure I was ok to have the surgery, but that appointment got cancelled. So I just continue to suffer I guess for indefinitely! I was shocked to read all this info about the torn meniscus surgery being like a scam! I really don’t want to have the TKR but I don’t know anything else I can do to get better and get rid of this debilitating pain.

  34. Denise M Tucker

    I fell in feburary it took my company 4 months to send me to be checked. The doctor I saw had me do an MRI which has shown a complex meniscal tear & a partial tear to my LCL tendon. I’m being referred to an orthopedic surgeon. What should I expect?

    1. Chris Centeno, MD Post author

      Surgery would usually NOT be required for the injuries you have.

  35. Please continue to practice your art at the highest level and individually for each and every client/patient. I hope this is been in

    I was amazed at the article pooh-poohing repair of a torn meniscus in middle-age or elderly people, surgically. I’m also a registered nurse whose practice for over 50 years in and Outside of hospitals.
    I myself had a torn medial meniscus that was caused by making a slight turn to go down some steps. I had the sensation of paper tearing without any pain at the time. But as time went on the pain grew worse and worse and I went to urgent care and was fitted with A knee brace after an x-ray it didn’t really show anything but was suspected of being a meniscus tear. The knee brace did nothing and as time went on the pain grew worse and worse until finally I had to go to an orthopedic physician who immediately sent me for an MRI which revealed a medial tear in the meniscus in my left knee. We both determined that surgery was needed and I am so thankful that he was willing and that I had never heard of this latest trend in orthopedic Medicine to avoid surgery. I never experienced any further pain from the moment out of the OR to my recovery at home which was absolutely nothing as I begin to walk painlessly immediately and cents have not add any recurring pain in that left m medicine to avoid surgery. I never experienced any further pain from the moment out of the OR to my recovery at home which was absolutely nothing as I begin to walk painlessly immediately and since have not add any recurring pain in that left knee. That was in 2015 and currently I am still pain-free
    and mobile. Needless to say I was quite needless to say, especially being a registered nurse for all these years I was quite shocked to read this report! To make these broad general statements and treatment plans are absolutely absurd unless you take each case individually. May I also say that I had had no problems in either one of my knees or my joints prior to that incident. No arthritis, no swelling, no complaints of pain at all or impaired mobility. I would hate to think that because of these studies a person with that kind of pain, and let me tell you it was intense and non-stopping to the Point that I had to get physical therapy for my right foot because the tendons in my foot and ankle has become so distorted because of the positioning of my foot related to the pain in my knee. That took approximately six weeks to be resolved through a physical therapist who was so patient and knew the right treatment for my right foot, toes and ankle. So I encourage anyone in medicine to please don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater! If your patient comes to you with undiagnosed new pain please don’t dismiss them because of their age and or sex and/or anything that might currently be the fad. Please continue to practice your art at the highest level and individually for each and every client/patient. I hope this is been in some help.

  36. Jackie

    So what the neck are those of us in pain supposed to do!

    1. Chris Centeno, MD Post author

      All treatment options start with an accurate diagnosis of what’s causing the knee pain.

  37. Gary Steinbrecher

    I recently tore my meniscus in my right knee, I was going to kick a football off a tee, i accidently missed the football and my leg was moving forward at a high velocity, i heard a pop and immediately the pain started. It’s been a month, and while it’s not as painful as it was, the ortopedic doctor said i needed surgery, i’m 69 years old. What are your thoughts on this one?

    1. Chris Centeno, MD Post author

      No, it’s very unlikely that a meniscus tear is your issue and even more unlikely that surgery will help.

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