Sports Medicine & Knee Pain

Patient with a ‘degenerative knee’ asks “Should I choose to have knee surgery?” The same question is often asked by patients with an ‘arthritic knee’ or a ‘meniscus tear’. These diagnoses along with popping, creaking and painful knees are often seen in my practice. Past research studies, experience, and being informed helps provide answers!

Orthopedic surgeons often recommend arthroscopic or “keyhole” surgery for meniscus tears, degenerative knees or very common arthritic knees.

Knee surgeries are around a $3 billion a year business. When you use laser and other non-invasive procedures that I use in my office, so many patients find that surgery to “fix” degenerative knee problems just isn’t worth the trouble, not to mention the risk, time and money involved.

Even if you have sudden pain, swelling and problems moving your knee, the chances are good that the ortho will recommend the arthroscopic surgery or ‘keyhole surgery’. My first process is to make a proper diagnosis and likely recommend trying laser or PiezoWave instruments to repair the damage. Doesn’t starting with non-invasive procedures sound logical?

I personally had a meniscus tear that the radiologist recommended I have surgery to repair. I was able to fix it with laser therapy and avoid surgery. In 2014 a Finland study used the keyhole surgery on several dozen patients with a torn meniscus, and then took another group and just pretended to do the operation (“sham” surgical procedure). The sham group was more satisfied with the results than the ones who had the actual procedure done. I understand there is a time for surgery, but even the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons advises trying other procedures before surgery!

What about knee replacement? I have seen great success with this procedure but up to a third of knee-replacement patients are still in chronic pain after the operation. And for those with milder pain, the procedure is not helpful and unnecessary.

If you are dealing with pain and stiffness in your knees, I will probably recommend a trial of the TheraLase laser therapy, losing weight if you need too, some natural or prescribed by your MD mild painkillers or natural anti-inflammatories.

Why not try this approach first? Call 310-444-9393 for an appointment.

“‘Keyhole’ surgery not helpful for knee arthritis, experts say” Dennis Thompson, May 11, 2017, CBS News,

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