MD friend says don't have meniscus fixed - - Posted by ruby2zdy (ruby2zdy), 6 December 2002
A friend of mine who's an MD says he's had a torn meniscus since his 20's (he's now 60). He plays soccer, skis, and climbs mountains, and he says the tear has never gotten worse. He recommends not having torn meniscus removed (because of the resulting arthritis) unless it's causing your knee to lock a lot.
Have any of you tried living with a torn meniscus & found it got worse?
Posted by jathib (jathib), 6 December 2002
I walked around on a torn meniscus for 17 years. I developed arthritis during that time and ended up tearing it a couple more times. Eventually I had to have the whole thing removed. Some people do fine leaving them there and others, like me, pay dearly for it.
Posted by Greg_T. (Greg_T.), 9 December 2002
I tore mine 7 weeks ago, but just had the MRI done last week and should here the results this week. Regardless of what the OS says, I'm not scheduling a surgery yet. My main problem is ocasionally it gives out and feels unstable. I don't understand how trimming the torn meniscus can help they unstablity.
So, I am curious to know what type of tear I have according to the MRI but I am not jumping into a surgery, at least not yet.
Posted by Ann (Ann), 12 January 2003
Your doctor friend gave you very good advice.
He knows that surgery is always risky business.
Surgery is the last resort. Try every available
non-surgical treatment before considering surgery.
You have no locking or frequent "catching" so
there is no need to rush to surgery.
I recently discovered a study on the internet
via Google search engine. It stated that the
success rates for meniscectomy are greatly
exaggerated by surgeons. This is not because
of any attempt to mislead. It just is a matter
of their outcome standards being quite different
than the patients. For example, if they do
everything "right" the docs consider the surgery
Patients who still have pain and limited
function judge the surgery in quite a different way.
So, avoid surgery for as long as you can. Consider
it the last stop in a process of treatment.
Posted by khaoskat (khaoskat), 20 January 2003
I tend to disagree with Ann. Initially after my surgery, I said I would never do it again.
I tore my meniscus on May 20, 2001, then retore and made the tear worse on February 27, 2002. I was not able to return to normal function after this.
It is more than whether or not your leg locks or catches. It also has to do with stability, whether or not you are experiencing swelling after exercising/walking/etc , whether or not you are in pain after exercising/walking/etc.. These are all factors to consider. Also, find an OS that specializes in knee problems. or has a lot of experience with them. You also have to trust your OS, and feel confortable with him/her.
The first OS I went to, I did not click with, and felt like I was just another number, he didn't understand the stress my knees were under with my type of sporting activities. My second OS I liked a lot, he seemed to be fairly knowledgable and competent, and had experience with people in my types of sporting activities. I ice skate - my first OS said that it was not hard on the knees, my second OS actually is the OS for a NHL/ECHL teams..and he also tends to many of the skaters from the local skating clubs in his town.
I would try to give PT a chance first, surgery is not something you just want to jump into. If the PT does the trick, and you are able to return to your normal life functions, then do hold off on surgery, as it may have fixed itself.
But remember this, only a small number of meniscal tears can repair themselves - those in the outer 1/3 of the meniscus, due to the lack of blood flow to the inner 2/3. Additionally, to ensure that a repair is complete, you may need surgery to staple or sew the meniscus tear together.
Posted by wabn1 (wabn1), 26 February 2003
I sorely wish I'd never had my torn meniscus operated on. If I'd done proper research and found this site earlier, I'd not be 3 months post-op and in pain as severe as when I originally tore my meniscus.
Clearly, every situation is different, but if your pain is not interferring with your life excessively, all things being equal, my advice would be to avoid surgery.
Hope things improve for you,
Posted by jbandit (jbandit), 26 February 2003
My daughter is 13 and she had an MRI that shows a tear. The doctor (OS) recommends that she have this tear trimmed off. I am very skeptical about surgery for someone so young. The OS says that that is when you should have surgery when you are young, so that she can resume normal sports activities. My daughter has participated in track, basketball, volleyball and softball. I would like for her to continue to participate in sports (as long as she wants to!) The OS says that if the tear were going to heal on its own, it probably would have by now. We think she injured the knee in late Dec 2002 while sledding. Does anyone have any advice for us? I am just worried that she will have more problems from the surgery than she does from the injury. Right now she has pain when she runs fast. She has had some swelling (after running) and her knee catches sometimes.
Posted by ruby2zdy (ruby2zdy), 26 February 2003
I was told by the same friend (an MD very into sports and who has a meniscal tear) who told me not to have surgery unless my knee was locking that children have more blood supply in the meniscus, for whatever that's worth.
As for a small tear, I did have a teeny tear removed from one of my meniscii in 1995 when a had my lateral release done. I didn't have any negative impacts from that that I know of. I think my friend's advice was for big tears -- unless they're giving you more trouble than you'd have from bone rubbing on bone, or from the changed angle your knee might have after menisectomy, then it's better to just leave it alone.
Meanwhile, since I also have chondromalacia, I'm testing the theory that the main pain I have comes from that. Will try McConnell taping. Also, there's a site I found yesterday that anyone with knee pain should visit before they do anything radical: http://www.patellapain.com/Mysterious%20Knee%20Pain.htm
Posted by Iona_-Uk (Iona), 1 March 2003
It's the same with any surgery, you have to weigh up pro's and con's and get second opinions if you need them.
In the past my Dad was glad he had it done, he's now changed his mind after 6-7 operations on them and a failed carticel treatment. Yet when he had the first bit of torn meniscus removed, he thought it was better than sliced bread.
The results of treatments will vary person to person and also some of us may feel we are able to live with the minor inconvience of a meniscus tear whereas some of us will feel it holds us back in what we are doing.
In reality, the choice is often made of how much pain it causes, I know with how I am feeling with a possible tear, I would rather have it out than leave it in if I had the choice.
Posted by mabdegonian (mabdegonian), 2 March 2003
I am in a similar position. I have a tear on the medial side and compartmental stress on the Lateral side. I am going to see how much the unloader stresses the tear before I decide to have it scoped. My first scope was fairly easy recovery compared to the Tib fracture so I am not afraid of the surgery, but why rush into it. I lived for 22 years with my first tear I might just be buried with this one.
As for the Father with the daughter. Try some other options. Get her working on leg strength. My original meniscus damage that I had corrected in april of 02 was done in 1976. It bothered me while I was playing football and hockey but when I gave up contact sports and started weight training and tap dancing it was fine. I suspect that a little support from a decent neoprene brace to help when the muscles get fatigued and some good muscle tone and your daughter will find she can play and cope. If the pain is bad let her know turning loose a surgeon inside your leg may have some permanent ramifications. My current OS believes my issue with the lateral side of my knee has to do with a mistake by the doctor who did my scope last year and this issue is not easily fixed. If she only hurts when she runs fast she may be able to get it healed up. At age 13 her knees are still developing I would not rush into surgery. I would also get several opinions and the absolutely best doctor as verified by as many outside sources as possible. I know they are all doctors but think back to school, was this one the best in his class or the worst in his class. She is young and has a lot to lose by even the simplest mistake. Removing to much cartlidge could change the bio mechanics of the knee and leave her with long term issues. The surgery may make you feel better but it may also leave you with no choice but to give up those things you love to do. In the case of a young daughter I would not have her knee scoped unless it was locking and leaving her unable to walk without it. Every long term complication that can happen from not having it scoped (arthritis, tear getting worse, etc) can also happen after having it scoped. The only thing you gain from the scope is relief from problems you can no longer bear but at the risk of complications that can be as bad as those original problems. It may mean she gives up Track or changes disciplines, from hurdles to cross country or high jump, to reduce some of the repeated impact. She may find she can do softball, volleyball, and possibly basketball just fine. I know I did. I could not play football and my parents/doctor made me give up hockey but as long as I did not over do I could handle those other sports just fine.
Everyone is a little different and knee injuries come in many shapes and sizes so everyone has to judge for themselves. Decide how much it hurts, discuss the risks (in real non sugar coated terms) and make an informed decision.
Posted by jbandit (jbandit), 10 March 2003
Thanks so much for all of your replies about my 13 year old daughter. I have her MRI and we are going for a second opinion on 3/12. I am so happy to have found this site. I will wait to see what the second doctor says but I am leaning towards trying anything else before surgery. My husband just had a liver transplant on 12/21/02 so I am not thrilled about any surgery right now!
Posted by ruby2zdy (ruby2zdy), 10 March 2003
Here's some really good advice (and an inspirational account) by someone who was a killer mountain climber, came down with debilitating knee pain, and overcame it to become a killer mountain climber again: http://www.climber.org/eckert/knees.html
The moral of his story is to start small with the exercising -- only do what your knee can stand w/o pain (and remember that you may not get pain during the exercise but for days afterward) and work up very slowly no matter how frustrating it is to do that. If he hadn't done it, he'd still be crippled.
Updated Thu Apr 29 2010