Torn meniscus surgery alternative
When a meniscal injury is suffered, surgery offers two options. Remove the damaged parts and weaken the knee or meniscal transplant surgery which itself has a documented high rate of failure. In the article below, Ross Hauser, M.D., a leading Prolotherapy doctor from Oak Park, Illinois, explains Prolotherapy treatment as a meniscal surgery alternative.
Ross Hauser, M.D.
Meniscus tears are the second most common type of knee injury, the first being ligament strains and tears. However, meniscus tears are particularly interesting because they are drastically on the rise. It’s estimated that one sixth of knee surgeries are performed for lesions on the meniscus, and many more go untreated every year. However, not all meniscus tears look exactly the same.
Menisci are c-shaped fibrocartilages that rest under the kneecap. They provide stability and fluid for the knee joint as well as shock absorption. Menisci also ensure that the thigh and shin bones don’t rub against each other. Quite a lot of functions for such small pieces of cartilage!
Types of Meniscus Tears
Menisci have two zones. The red zone is outside and the white zone is inside. Meniscus tears are characterized by their placement in these two zones. For example, a longitudinal, or bucket handle, tear is a tear that tears vertically in either zone. It does not cut across the meniscus, but rather tears so that the curve looks like a bucket handle.
A radial tear, on the other hand, is a tear that extends across both zones, starting at the red zone and then extending downward into the white zone. Radial tears are also called parrot beak tears because they make an open, angular shape that looks like a bird’s beak.
A horizontal tear (or flap tear) is the exact opposite of a longitudinal tear; it cuts across the meniscus, as opposed to running alongside it.
An oblique tearis a tear that is diagonal across the meniscus. When any of these patterns combine it is called a complex tear.
Partial or Full Thickness Tears
The other classification of meniscus tears is related to the depth of the tear. Tears are considered to either be partial thickness tears or full thickness tears. This is exactly what it sounds like. Partial thickness tears are tears that only extend part way across the meniscus, while full thickness tears extend fully across. So, if you have a full thickness flap tear, then it is a tear that cuts across the meniscus completely.
Prolotherapy for Meniscus Tears
Prolotherapy is a extremely effective non surgical option for treating all types of meniscus tears. In fact, in a study done by Dr. Hauser and our clinic Caring Medical, published in the Journal of Prolotherapy, 27 out of 28 patients with all types of meniscus tears showed improvement and the Prolotherapy treatments met their expectations for healing. You can read the entire study published in the Journal of Prolotherapy here. We concluded from this study that Prolotherapy, also known as regenerative injection therapy, should be a first-line treatment option for torn menisci. Dr. Hauser provides comprehensive Prolotherapy here at Caring Medical. Depending on the severity of your tear or injury, Dr. Hauser will tailor the Prolotherapy solution to best suit your needs. In other words, we can use basic dextrose Prolotherapy, sodium morrhuate, PRP (platelet rich plasma), or stem cell bone marrow Prolotherapy depending on your needs. We specialize in the complicated cases! Not only is the tear itself treated with Prolotherapy, but the surrounding knee structures that stabilize the knee are always treated as well. If you do not treat the entire area, then the underlying reason the meniscus tore in the first place never gets addressed – which is joint instability. Knee Prolotherapy by Dr. Hauser involves many injections, therefore. Not just one.
Knee injuries not only leave the patient in pain, but lead to osteoarthritis and eventual joint replacement.
Prolotherapy provides pain relief and stability.
Why Surgery May Not Heal Your Meniscus Tear
When surgeons surgically “repair” a meniscus tear, they nearly always simply remove the part of the meniscus that is torn, because the meniscus heals terribly on its own because it does not have a good blood supply. When using Prolotherapy as an alternative means of healing, however, the meniscus heals amazingly well, because Prolotherapy stimulates healing. Of the above patients, 96% were helped by Prolotherapy.