Partial knee menisectomy is a very common surgery that involves removing the torn part of the meniscus. The meniscus is a natural shock absorber for the knee. In fact, in America alone, we perform about 700,000 of these surgeries per year, making it one of the most common orthopedic surgeries. While most patients think they’re getting a meniscus repair procedure, the truth is, 96% of these surgeries just remove a piece of the shock absorber, leaving your knee less protected.
There have been many high-quality research studies over the past decade or more that were designed to answer the specific question, “Is surgery necessary for a torn meniscus?” What did they show? All three large studies showed that meniscus surgery was not effective or no better than just physical therapy.
We offer innovative non-surgical procedures that may help decrease pain and improve knee function and mobility without the need for surgery.
Meniscus surgery is traumatic and carries associated risks. Even successful surgeries require months of painful rehab to regain strength and mobility. After surgery, most patients will be on crutches, wear a brace, or some combination of both for several weeks before returning back to normal activity. The recovery time and rehabilitation period may be extended up to six weeks with a knee brace or crutches.
Keep in mind that there may even be some complications associated with meniscus surgery, prolonging the recovery period even more. This includes complications with anesthesia, such as respiratory or cardiac malfunction, infections, and injury to nerves and blood vessels, fracture, weakness, stiffness or instability of the joint, inability to repair the meniscus, repeated rupture of the meniscus, or the need for additional surgeries.
Can you ever truly recover from parts of your knee meniscus being removed surgically? In the long run, almost all meniscus surgeries accelerate degeneration that leads to osteoarthritis and exacerbate the biomechanical problems that initially led to the need for the surgery.
Meniscus tears are like wrinkles; they are unavoidable. Some of us get more of them at a young age and some of us don’t get a lot of them until we’re older. The meniscus gets small tears as we age and as the knee joint begins to wear out. For example, in middle-aged and elderly patients, taking an MRI of patients with no knee pain and those with ongoing knee pain will reveal that both groups have about the same amount of meniscus tears. If these things usually don’t cause pain, why are we operating on them? If our surgeries are no better than fake surgeries, why are we placing all of these patients at the risk of surgical complications?
Recent research shows that some of the most popular orthopedic knee surgeries, including meniscectomies, have no benefit and are not more effective than placebo or sham surgery. But can a meniscus tear heal on its own when left untreated? Non-surgical treatments for meniscus tears for healing on their own include physical therapy, rest, ice, compression and elevation. Interventional orthopedics also provides a non-surgical injection alternative that may prove beneficial in reducing pain and improving function.
Have you been told that invasive surgery is your only option to fix your torn ACL? Getting your ACL replaced permanently alters the mechanics of the knee joint. You have other options when it comes to treating your ACL injury. In fact, about 70% of all ACL tears that currently get surgery could have been treated with a precise injection.
Your body is built to repair itself and our goal is to save your ACL, not replace it. We offer a non-surgical alternative for ACL tears that requires advanced injection skills using X-ray guidance, which may aide the healing of your ACL tear, while reducing pain and increasing function.
Christopher Urbanek is a fellowship-trained physician in sports medicine and interventional orthopedics with a focus on delivering ethical, non-surgical treatment to neuromusculoskeletal conditions of the spine and extremities. He has been immersed in sports medicine since college where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training and served as the head athletic trainer for a women’s professional football team. During that time, his team physician, Dr. Tanya Hagen, mentored and encouraged Dr. Urbanek to attend medical school. Completing his training at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, he then completed a residency in family medicine where he stayed for a sports medicine fellowship. After his sports medicine fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Dr. Urbanek worked at East Carolina University where he served as Director of Sports Medicine and Assistant Director for the Sports Medicine Fellowship. There, he treated patients of all ages and conditions from youth to senior athletes with neuromusculoskeletal injuries. With additional training as a registered musculoskeletal sonographer, Dr. Urbanek has a wealth of clinical and teaching experience at the national level with diagnostic and interventional ultrasound. His extensive sports coverage has included over 12 high schools, 2 D1 colleges, 1 D3 college, 1 junior college, multiple obstacle course races, multiple races from 5K to marathon distance, and minor league baseball. After 4 years at East Carolina University, Dr. Urbanek attended a second fellowship at the world leader in orthiobiologics, the Centeno-Schultz Clinic. This further expanded his repertoire of image-guided, minimally invasive, non-surgical treatments. In addition to his passion for a holistic approach to non-surgical patient care, Dr. Urbanek is an avid runner having participated in races up to 100 miles. His understanding of the physical demands of all athletes, from weekend warriors to elite athletes, translates into a caring, compassionate physician with an extensive skill set to ensure the best patient and procedure experience possible.
Areas treated: Elbow, Foot & Ankle, Hand & Wrist, Hip, Knee, Lumbar Spine, Shoulder, Thoracic Spine, Cervical Spine (except CCI)
6151 Thornton Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50321
Life’s too short to live in pain. Take advantage of new regenerative treatments that are helping people avoid joint replacement and other invasive surgeries. Get back to doing the activities you love, faster and without surgery.Request Information
*DISCLAIMER: Like all medical procedures, Regenexx® Procedures have a success and failure rate. Patient reviews and testimonials on this site should not be interpreted as a statement on the effectiveness of our treatments for anyone else.
Providers listed on the Regenexx website are for informational purposes only and are not a recommendation from Regenexx for a specific provider or a guarantee of the outcome of any treatment you receive.