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Arthroscopic Knee Surgery- Are you doing more damage?

If you follow anything I do, I am a total believer that the body has an amazing ability to heal if you give it the right environment and get to the source of the problem…

We often treat symptoms in this country.

There is a research article that was done almost 20 years ago called, “A Controlled Trial of Arthroscopic Surgery for Osteoarthritis of the Knee,” that was a very interesting read.

Do not worry, you do not have to read the research, I will share the findings here…  

Arthroscopic Knee surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed despite the research telling us a different story. Especially when you are in your 40’s, 50’s and beyond. When I hear a patient tell me they are going to have one of these surgeries over the phone, I tell them, please come in here and lets at the very least have a conversation.

I can not tell you how many people we have been able to save from having one of these surgeries in the past 3-4 years…

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.

Studies show that people who get arthroscopic knee surgery (especially the doctor tells you they need to just “clean up” the knee) are likely to have arthritis advance more rapidly. When this happens, you could be closer to a total knee replacement that you do not want and might have been avoided.

Now I could also get into a different research showing 40% of people in line to have a Total Knee Replacement did not even need it!! But that is another story for a different day..

When you get older the likelihood of you having a meniscal tear is rare (it is possible, but it is rare). So, when the doctors go in to do the surgery to get you some “knee pain relief” and tell you this is conservative treatment they can do before a total knee replacement, they just are cleaning the knee out and clipping out pieces of frayed meniscuses that “might” be irritating your knee.

I can tell you that the frayed meniscus is not causing your problems.

It is made to sound simple and harmless…. This is the conservative treatment (but it is not!)

Over the years, many of research articles have shown that this procedure is really not necessary and in fact the research article mentioned above stated the placebo surgery (yes, they just poked holes in the knee and did not do anything else), got the same outcome as the arthroscopic knee surgery.

Research article after research article showing that degenerative changes and meniscal tears not getting better after surgery, actually doing more long-term damage – you can still get better naturally and with conservative treatment like physical therapy.

Most people can get the outcome and pain relief they want in their knees without ever having to do surgery.

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

Why is this happening?

  1. Well It is just what surgeons know to do to help and they do not keep up with the research.
  2. In other cases, they have sent their clients to Physical Therapy in the past and they are going to the wrong places and do not get results (doctor’s who have their own PT practices and other practices that see 2-3 patients per therapist). The Therapist do cookie cutter exercises and do not look at the big picture of looking at the whole body and the client does not get better.

We see this all the time…. It is most of the clients who come through our doors (tried everything but nothing has worked, yet they get results here!)

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.

People suffering with knee pain are led to believe that the physical therapy “didn’t work”, so they scheduled the surgery, HOPING this will be the answer (and it is not!).

Even if the outcomes are the same, and it is “minimally invasive” – it’s still surgery.

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

And then anytime you do surgery, there is a possibility of getting worse…. (and no one talks about that)

We have seen many of these arthroscopic surgeries performed that had clients feeling WORSE than before surgery. Because the surgery did not get to the source of your problem and now you have all the trauma of the surgery on top of the original knee pain.

Do not worry, we’re able to still get them better. But it’s completely demoralizing and discouraging for our clients. Our clients typically have lost all hope or they have been referred here so they do not get to their lowest of low points!

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

We have a couple of resources for you to continue your learning on this topic..

We created a How to Eliminate Knee pain Report that gives you more education and our top tips on how we help our clients resolve their knee pain.. CLICK HERE To get to that tips report sent to your inbox!

Or maybe you are completely fed up and you really want to get to the source of your pain. We have a Talk to our Physical Therapist where you can sign up to sit down and speak to one of our Specialists for FREE to help you make a better decision on what you need to do next. Just CLICK HERE to start that process.

Do not delay as we have limited spots each week for these one on one conversations..  Again, just CLICK Here to SIGN UP for your Free talk with one of our Knee Specialists!

With all this being said, for some, arthroscopic knee surgery really is necessary.

But for most, it can be avoided. We are honest with you on whether we can help you or not!

We also have more information on our YOUTUBE Channel -just click here to find that and subscribe to get the top new educational videos that we share!)

Or you can find more info on our Podcast “mPower Your Life!”

Either way, we are always trying to find more ways to provide education to you to help you navigate our healthcare system better.