Meniscus tears are one of the leading causes of knee pain in the world, and about 4 million people undergo arthroscopic knee surgery every year because of it. However, a recent study review conducted by Dr. Moin Khan from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada suggested that invasive treatments for meniscus tears may not be better than non-surgical treatments as previously thought. Liza Baskin of dailyRx News writes:
The findings showed that arthroscopic surgery for people with degenerative meniscal tears who did not have osteoarthritis (breaking down of the cartilage and bones in a joint) was not more effective in reducing pain than nonsurgical management of meniscal tears.
The authors of the study review found that arthroscopic surgery also had little effect on the patients’ knee functionality when compared to nonsurgical management.
Surgery did not reduce pain or improve functionality for either short- or long-term outcomes, the authors found.
That said, the review also pointed out the importance of proper testing before any form of treatment is administered; surgery isn’t always needed to treat meniscus tears. A correct diagnosis will lead to a more proper pain management plan, and this is something that Dr. Mazandarani of MedWell Spine, OsteoArthritis & Neuropathy Center can provide. Among the non-invasive treatments MedWell uses for treating knee pain in Bergen County, New Jersey are Synvisc/Hyalgan injections, brain-based therapies, and chiropractic care. Of course, this assumes that the pain is caused by a meniscal tear in the first place.
The meniscus cartilage is located between the thighbone and the shinbone, serving as the knee’s shock absorber. The knee actually has two meniscus cartilages and they gradually get worn out over time (i.e. degenerative tear), unless they suffer serious damage (i.e. acute traumatic tear) from physical activity first. As such, meniscus tears are quite common among elders and athletes. Depending on the kind of damage they’ve caused, meniscus tears can be treated with pain relievers, a meniscectomy, or just ice packs and plenty of rest.
However this will be different if the pain is actually caused by arthritis rather than a torn cartilage. A thorough examination will be necessary because a meniscectomy can only be expected to repair the damage, not treat arthritis pain. In fact, older and heavier people who experience knee pain are more likely to suffer from arthritis than a meniscus tear, and are therefore less likely to recover with the help of surgery.
It can’t be stressed any further that a proper diagnosis is needed before knee pain treatment in Paramus, NJ or elsewhere can be performed. Perhaps the 4 million people who undergo arthroscopic surgeries annually need to think harder about their decision?
(Source: Surgery May Not Improve Torn Meniscus, dailyRx News, August 26, 2014)