Many times if a patient fails to improve with conservative measures, an orthopedist will recommend surgery, especially in the case of a torn meniscus as a result of a knee injury. Oftentimes these surgeries are effective, but sometimes they are not and the patient continues to have ongoing knee pain post-operatively.
Finish Study on Meniscus Tears
A recent study in Finland studied a small number of people who developed meniscus tears over time (rather than due to a traumatic injury). Some of the people in the study had surgery, others did not (but thought they did). After a year there was no appreciable difference between the people who had surgery and the people who did not.
To Have or Not to Have Knee Surgery – That Is The Question
This does not mean that surgery is never effective. It certainly can be. In this study, the people had gradual tears rather than torn meniscus resulting from a specific injury (like many work injuries) But with 700,000 people in the United States undergoing partial meniscectomies each year, they must be approached with caution. Surgery always carries risks and should never be the first option. Physical therapy is always a good first approach!
Beth Gearhart is an Atlanta work comp lawyer based in Atlanta, Georgia and serves Atlanta and the entire State of Georgia. Beth specializes in work injuries including torn meniscus – knee injuries.