Arthroscopic Surgery for Knee Pain

Last year over 500,000 thousand arthroscopic knee surgeries (scopes) were performed in the Unites States making it one of the most common orthopedic surgical procedures.  In a previous post we highlighted some of the evidence behind this surgery showing it is not superior to a sham or placebo surgery for degenerative meniscal tears.  In addition, many literature reviews and analyses have shown the procedure offers little to benefit to patients with knee pain (Thorlund et al. BMJ. 2015).  

A recent article in the British Medical Journal compared Physical Therapy exercises to surgery for middle aged patients with degenerative medial meniscal tears (Kise et al. 2016).  The authors found no difference in self reported knee function at long term follow up, but reported greater strength and muscle performance in the exercise group.  Patients with knee pain are encouraged to utilize Physical Therapy over surgery for painful knee conditions.