Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Expert Forum
Is surgery needed?
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Questions in the Orthopedics & Sports Medicine forum are answered by Michael L. Gross, MD the CEO of Active Orthopedics & Sports Medicine.

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Is surgery needed?

Had an MRI yesterday.
Findings: Menisci: Oblique inferior surface extending tear posterior horn medial meniscus. Remaining meniscal tissue intact
Other: Minor joint effusion

Conclusion Tear posterior horn medial meniscus. Remaining internal structures of the knee appear grossly intact.

Knee causes lots of pain and discomfort and some nice noises. What are the chances of this needing surgery?
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Conventional wisdom is that for an acute meniscal tear, in a young, active individual, the most reliable meathod of treatment is arthroscopic partial menisectomy.  The large majority of meniscus tears do not have the potential for healing on their own, and physical therapy does not promote healing of the meniscus.  I compare a torn meniscus to a pebble in your shoe.  Until the pebble is removed, you are still going to have pain.  Once the torn meniscus (the pebble) is removed, you can feel better. The incidence risk of arthritis after arthroscopic partial menisectomy is quite low. Combine this with the probability that leaving the torn tissue in place has a greater chance of causing arthritic changes in the knee.

4 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you Dr Gross. Ive already had 2 previous knee surgeries for torn miniscus, 1 on each knee, they were posterior tears I believe. Years ago.
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Avatar_m_tn
Ive also had 3 back surgeries including an L4 to L5 fusion. Need a patient to keep you busy? LOL
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Avatar_n_tn
Had MRI and report stated I have a degenerative tear posterior horn and body medial meniscus with associated focal marginal medial tibial osteochondral lesion subjacent to the meniscal tear.  I am a 73 year old female, healthy otherwise. Can walk on it fine, just when I get up or sit down I have the pain. Is surgery needed?
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