Meniscus Surgery Side Effects: How Long Have We Known that Removing the Knee Meniscus was a Dumb Idea?

By /

meniscus surgery side effects

How long have we known about meniscus surgery side effects?

The year was 1948. Truman was the new president and the cold war was just beginning. The post WWII building and baby boom was just starting and a physician in the U.K. wrote a paper about his experience with removing the knee meniscus, which wasn’t good. Writing in the Journal of the Bone and Joint Surgery, he noted that after a number of years, 2/3’rds of his patients in which he had removed the meniscus showed x-ray evidence of arthritis. Above and below are illustrations from the original paper sent to me by a Regenexx patient.

What causes meniscus surgery side effects?

The issue is simple. The meniscus is an important shock absorber of the knee that protects the cartilage.  When it tears, more than 90% of the time when knee surgery is performed, there is no repair of the meniscus tear, but instead the surgeon cuts out the torn piece. Less shock absorber means more shock gets delivered to the cartilage and bone. After awhile, this tissue reacts and cartilage is lost and the knee begins to form new bone spurs (as was documented all the way back in 1948). More modern papers have plotted the amount of increased force versus the amount of meniscus removed and that’s also not pretty. In addition, more recent papers have confirmed that removing parts of the meniscus results in more knee arthritis. So what’s the upshot? Removing any meniscus from the knee isn’t a good idea. It wasn’t a good idea in the 1940s and it’s not a good idea today. While there are a very few instances where the torn meniscus piece has to be removed surgically, the routine removal of parts and pieces of meniscus isn’t supported by any medical evidence. In fact, a recent paper has shown that meniscus surgery is not better on average then just sending the patient to physical therapy, and older studies have shown the same.  The past is prologue, even for knee meniscus surgery…

meniscus surgery side effects

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


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

Join a Webinar


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

Subscribe to the Blog


9035 Wadsworth Pkwy #1000
Westminster, CO 80021


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.