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Knee Surgery for Torn Meniscus
The meniscus is a very important part of the knee. There are actually two menisci per knee, located on the outer edges that provide cushion and shock absorption. Some of the most common knee injuries involve a tear in one or both of the menisci. In younger people a meniscus tear usually results from a sharp twisting motion during sports or other physical activities. In older people the meniscus may tear as a result of degeneration in the cartilage of the meniscus. Either way, traditional treatments for a torn meniscus involve arthroscopic knee surgery to shave or remove the meniscus. But, as we already mentioned, the meniscus plays an essential role in knee stability. So removing parts or all of it cannot be the best option. In fact, decreasing the stability in the knee can lead to instability in other ligaments and cartilage of the knee. Let’s take a look at what happens during arthroscopic surgery for a torn meniscus:
Torn Meniscus Before Surgery
You can see the torn meniscus before surgery. Despite being torn there is a good amount of cartilage that makes up the meniscus and provides support and stability to the knee.
Torn Meniscus During Arthroscopic Surgery
During arthroscopic surgery a large probe enters into the knee space to remove parts of the meniscus. Although arthroscopic surgery is “minimally invasive”, for a space this small it involves quite a bit of invasion.
Meniscus After Surgery
Finally, after the arthroscopic surgery, the meniscus space is “clean” but lacking in cartilage, support, stability, and protection. This missing meniscus leaves the knee susceptible to further degeneration and pain for the patient.
So what’s the better option? The better option is to undergo a true minimally invasive therapy that regenerates cartilage instead of removing it: Prolotherapy. The problem with meniscal injuries is that the meniscus receives a very poor blood supply and therefore does not have access to the healing factors of the body. Prolotherapy works to create a mild inflammation to bring blood flow to the torn meniscus and usher in all of the healing factors naturally present within a person’s body. It involves comprehensive Prolotherapy injections, about 30-60 per treatment, and usually takes 3-6 treatments spaced one month apart. Our Prolotherapist, Ross Hauser, MD, successfully treats multiple meniscal injuries every day. Caring Medical’s meniscus study shows the effectiveness of Prolotherapy in meniscal injuries.
If you are faced with a torn meniscus, ask yourself what treatment is best. Would you rather have a large probe entered into you knee to take a vital structure away or have smaller Prolotherapy injections to regenerate the cartilage to heal the tear and return your knee to normal strength. We hope you choose the better option and come to see us. Please contact us with any questions on your specific case; we would love to help you get on the path to healing.