A number of high quality studies done in the last 15 years have shown that arthroscopic surgery in patients with knee arthritis is not beneficial. A recent study shows that knee arthroscopy for arthritis adds a whopping 2.4% benefit compared to physical therapy alone. It’s shocking that despite the evidence, this is still a very common surgery for knee arthritis patients.
While arthroscopic surgery may be beneficial for specific indications, there is wide spread use of this surgery when less risky options can give equivalent or better outcomes. More over the rush to this sort of surgery in arthritis patients is not cost effective, and if it includes removing meniscal tissue can accelerate the arthritic process as well.
My recommendations for maximizing nonsurgical options include losing weight if necessary, using glucosamine chondroitin supplement in place of chronic anti-inflammatory medications, leg strengthening, improve activity based biomechanics if that is aggravating pain, and use safer autologous biologic treatments such as Platelet rich plasma and the Regenexx Stem cell protocol. This approach is cost effective, safer, and healthier for your joint long term compared to rushing to arthroscopic surgery.
In fact if one considers costs and risks associated with treatment, surgery for arthritis should always be a last resort option rather than first or second line. Opting for low risk, high benefit treatments makes more sense than going with higher risk surgical treatments. In particular since the risks associated with arthroscopy and knee replacement surgery include blood clots, heart attacks, strokes, allergic reaction to anesthesia, and allergic reaction to metal replacement hardware. Consider the Regenexx stem cell protocol, a low risk proven knee surgery alternative.
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