Arthroscopic Knee Surgery – Does It Even Work?

Arthroscopic Knee SurgeryYou might be aware of this already – but I have a weekly column in the Nextdoor Magazine- and while researching for my latest article – I came across an interesting study titled: “Arthroscopy for degenerative knees – a difficult habit to break”.

Don’t worry… anything I write for the magazine I share with you here too 🙂

But the title of this study is telling – because arthroscopic knee surgery is still one of the most common surgeries performed – despite research telling us that it’s not nearly as effective as most people are led to believe.

Furthermore, studies now indicate that people who get arthroscopic knee surgery are likely to have knee arthritis that advances more rapidly – resulting in a total knee replacement that could have been avoided.

Arthroscopic knee surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that’s commonly done to help “clean out” your knee joint if you’ve got degenerative arthritis, or to clip out pieces of a torn meniscus that might be irritating your knee.

Sounds pretty simple and harmless – right?

But over the years, research has shown that this procedure is really not necessary in most cases.

Most people can get pain relief and restore function in their knees without ever getting surgery.

One of the earliest studies from 2002 by JB Mosely and colleagues, and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, revealed that placebo surgery for advanced knee arthritis was just as effective as actual arthroscopic surgery. Since then, numerous studies have shown similar results – that even if you’ve got a torn meniscus or degenerative arthritis in your knee – you can still get better naturally and with conservative treatment like physical therapy.

Despite all this research, surgeons are still performing these procedures more than ever.

In some cases it’s just what the surgeon knows, and they haven’t kept up with the research.

In other cases, it’s due to poor conservative management and not giving therapy enough time.

In our office, we often see people after they’ve tried regular physical therapy first. Since we have a more specialized approach, and we’re able to spend more time with our clients, we tend to get better results and can help clients avoid surgery all together.

But not all physical therapy clinics are afforded that luxury.

In those cases, people are led to believe that the physical therapy “didn’t work”, and they get scheduled for surgery.

But what’s the big deal really?

If outcomes are the same regardless of whether you get surgery or not – why not just get it? It’s quicker, and far more convenient than going to weekly therapy appointments…

But – despite the term “minimally invasive” – it’s still surgery.

You will have bleeding, swelling, and recovery time. There is trauma that is caused to the soft tissue in and around your knee that has to heal. There’s also the risk of infection, which comes with a whole set of different complications.

And then of course there’s the elephant in the room that nobody likes to talk about…

I’ve seen many of these arthroscopic surgeries performed that had clients feeling WORSE than before surgery. Because it turns out the procedure wasn’t even necessary. Luckily we’re able to still get them better. But it’s completely demoralizing and discouraging for our clients.

In general, despite how small the procedure may seem, you want to avoid surgery whenever possible.

Although small, the risks that can happen with surgery simply aren’t worth it – especially when you can get the same results from natural, conservative treatment.

For some, arthroscopic knee surgery really is necessary.

But for most, it can be avoided.

If you’re currently suffering from knee pain and want to learn more about what you can do to not only avoid surgery – but help get rid of knee pain naturally and on your own – then sign up for our limited FREE Discovery visits here with one of our specialists.

Request your FREE Discovery SessionClick Here »

 

We will talk to you about everything that's going on with your specific problem and let you know: 1) if we can help you and 2) if you're a good fit for what we do 🙂

Or CLICK HERE to begin with a Free Telephone Consultation first. If you like how we listen and learn more about your specific problem, begin to help you solve it and feel we are the right fit for you then you can request for a free discovery visit.

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Trupti Mehta, PT, MS, OCS

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