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.
Michael D. Jackson, M.D., FAAPMR is board-certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation with subspecialty certification in sports medicine. As a member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, he has been practicing occupational and sports medicine for 20 years. As a leading interventional orthopedic and pain recovery physician in the Greater Midwest, Dr. Jackson is specialty-trained in the Regenexx procedures.
Dr. Jackson’s work at Regenexx Des Moines focuses on providing pain recovery. Simply managing pain resulting from musculoskeletal conditions fails to address the patients’ overall health and wellness. As a result, Dr. Jackson works with patients to improve biomechanics and reduce disability, thus improving their physical function and allowing them to return to many normal daily activities. He brings his extensive experience in pain recovery to Regenexx Des Moines where he uses the highest level of evidence-based medical technology and therapies available in the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions.
Areas treated: Elbow, Foot & Ankle, Hand & Wrist, Hip, Knee, Shoulder
Dr. Jolene Smith graduated from medical school at Des Moines University and went on to complete her intern year, anesthesiology residency, and pain medicine fellowship at The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. She is board certified in both anesthesiology and pain medicine by the American Board of Anesthesiology. During her fellowship training, Dr. Smith gained extensive experience in interventional pain medicine techniques, including those involving the cervical, thoracic, and lumbosacral spine. This experience, combined with the holistic and hands-on training she received during medical school, afford her the ability to treat the entire patient. After moving back to Des Moines in 2015, Dr. Smith began working in private practice as a pain management physician, where she manages medications, performs interventional procedures, and implants devices to treat pain arising from various conditions. Her academic interests include cannabinoids for pain, the treatment of cancer pain, neuromodulation, and regenerative medicine; she has given numerous talks at local, regional, and national conferences on these and other topics. Dr. Smith is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Specialty Medicine at Des Moines University and has co-developed a special topics course that is currently in its second year. A lifelong learner, Dr. Smith is currently pursuing a master’s degree in cannabis medicine at Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA.
Dr. Smith believes regenerative medicine/orthobiologics represents the future of pain management for many conditions. Her specialty training in osteopathic medicine, pain medicine, interventional spine techniques, and Regenexx procedures allow Dr. Smith to diagnose and treat each patient’s pain individually, based on their particular life circumstances and functional goals. She is a firm believer in the biopsychosocial model of pain management that operates at the intersection of patient support systems, psychological/behavioral health, and biologic conditions. As someone who lives with chronic back pain herself, Dr. Smith has a unique window into the pain experience of her patients.
Dr. Smith lives in the Des Moines metropolitan area and enjoys being outside, hiking, birdwatching, amateur astronomy, CrossFit, and is being roped into doing martial arts with her family that includes 4 cats.
Areas treated: Lumbar Spine, Thoracic Spine, Cervical Spine
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.