Knee Surgery to Repair the Meniscus Shows High Failure Rate

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In a recently published study, where surgeons repaired a certain type of medial meniscus tear and then went back at a later time to look at the meniscus under arthroscopy, almost none of the repaired tears healed. This was despite many patients reporting relief. Why? A meniscus tear usually doesn’t heal well due to a poor blood supply. In addition, recent research shows that many meniscus tears may not even be the cause of pain. So in this study, the non-healing of the meniscus may have little to do with the patient’s resolution of pain, which may be due to the prolonged immobilization of the knee after surgery and the post-op rehab devoted to the knee. In addition, many medial knee pain syndromes may be due to other factors outside of the knee meniscus, such as: pes anserine bursitis, a loose MCL ligament, or trigger points in the quadriceps and other thigh muscles. The upshot of this study seems to be that getting a meniscus to heal with surgery is difficult and the patient’s report of relief after surgery may have little to do with meniscus healing. For those that have read Orthopedics 2.0, this may not come as a surprise.

Learn about Regenexx procedures for knee 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

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