Arthroscopy vs. Prolotherapy
A 2002 study perfromed by The Baylor College of Medicine examined the effectiveness of treating knee pain with arthroscopic surgery. Patients were randomly assigned a surgery, and were not told which one they would receive. The three surgeries were arthroscopic debridement, arthroscopic lavage, and placebo. Arthroscopic debridement surgery involved removal of the degenerated cartilage. Arthroscopic lavage involves surgically washing out the joint of old blood, fluid, or loose particles. The placebo surgery performed included an incision and a simulated debridement without the insertion of the arthroscope.
The authors of the study found that the patients who received the legitimate surgeries did not report less pain or better function than the patients who received the placebo surgery. This led them to conclude that the outcomes after arthroscopic lavage or arthroscopic debridement are not better than the outcome from the placebo procedure – and this was back in 2002!
In 2008, the Center for Medical Consumers published a report that stated that arthroscopic surgery had been proven to have no more benefit for patients than conservative treatments. Their article states that this has been long proven, dating back to 2002. Another study mentioned stated that “Arthroscopic lavage and debridement do not alter disease progression, and should not be used as a routine treatment for the osteoarthritic knee. Even the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons, in their suggestions about treating osteoarthritis (AAOS 2008), does not recommend arthroscopic lavage or debridement for the treatment of knee pain or OA.
Arthroscopy found to be ineffective
Simply put, arthroscopic surgery for knee pain has as little an effect as physical therapy. Meaning, it provides temporary relief, but after a little while, the pain returns.
Alternative to surgery
At Caring Medical, we perform a treatment called Prolotherapy. Prolotherapy is an injection with a dextrose solution as the base. The dextrose acts as an irritant that when injected stimulates a mild inflammatory response, which creates heavy blood flow to the area, stimulating the body to heal itself. The blood sent to the area helps the cartilage under the knee to repair, as well as strengthening the ligaments and tendons that are supporting the knee.
If a person is a candidate for knee surgery, the cartilage under the knee cap is most likely in poor condition, but not necessarily, as often surgery is recommended when other more conservative options have not been fully investigated. In more severe cases or those involving severely degenerated cartilage, we may strengthen the standard Prolotherapy solution with additives such as hormones, minerals, or even your body’s own growth factors in order to stimulate a greater inflammatory response.
We see from our patients every day at Caring Medical that Prolotherapy can relieve pain, even in some of the worst cases – even after surgery!
Ross Hauser, M.D. Visit my page or Contact Caring Medical. at 708-848-7789