Knee surgery likely causes arthritis

Knee surgery likely causes arthritis —

The study found that cartilage loss occurred in nearly 81 percent of knees that had meniscal surgery, compared with 40 percent of knees with meniscal damage that did not have surgery.

The study found that cartilage loss occurred in nearly 81 percent of knees that had meniscal surgery, compared with 40 percent of knees with meniscal damage that did not have surgery.

by Dr. Fred G. Arnold — 

In a recent study, it was shown that a common type of knee surgery may actually increase arthritis and cartilage loss. Knee surgery repairs tears by removing a piece of cartilage called the meniscus in the knee joint that acts as a shock absorber and provides stability to the knee.

In the study, the scientists used MRI scans to evaluate 355 knees with arthritis and compared them with a similar number of knees without arthritis. The average age of the patients was 60 years, and two-thirds were women. In the study group, 31 knees were operated on to repair meniscal tears, and 100 percent of these patients developed arthritis within a year. In the patients who had meniscal damage but did not have surgery, only 59 percent of the knees developed arthritis.

The study found that cartilage loss occurred in nearly 81 percent of knees that had meniscal surgery, compared with 40 percent of knees with meniscal damage that did not have surgery. The research was presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.

It makes perfect sense that arthritis can occur when knee cartilage is removed. In your car, coiled shock absorbers absorb weight-bearing forces as it travels down the road. Imagine what would happen if you removed one of the shock absorbers and continued to drive your car as usual. The increased weight-bearing forces on the side of the car where the shock absorber was removed would start to wear out the tires and mechanical attachments would loosen, resulting in damage to parts of the car. When surgery is performed to a knee and part of the meniscus is removed, abnormal weight forces develop and arthritic changes are accelerated in the knee.


Other traditional medical treatments  

A variety of other traditional medical treatments are used to treat knee conditions. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications are among the most commonly used drugs in the world for the treatment of arthritis and are frequently given to patients with knee pain to reduce pain and inflammation. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication has been shown in scientific studies to accelerate the articular cartilage breakdown in arthritis.

Rooster comb injections (Synvisc®) cushion and lubricate the knee the same way synovial fluid, which is secreted naturally by the lining of the joint, does. However, these injections do not cure osteoarthritis, stop the disease progression or heal worn cartilage.

Physical therapy may strengthen associated muscles of the knee joint, but it does not change the condition of the damaged cartilage in the knee. Knee replacement surgery may be recommended when the knee fails to respond to steroid or Synvisc injections, physical therapy and meniscus surgery.


Regenerative medicine 

Regenerative medicine is the process of replacing or regenerating human cells and tissues to restore or establish normal function. Some of the current and effective regenerative injection medicine techniques include prolotherapy, prolozone, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and stem cell therapy.

Prolotherapy is a proven treatment for painful knee conditions. A natural substance, such as dextrose, is injected with an anesthetic to purposefully provoke mild localized inflammation. Numerous scientific studies clearly illustrate the benefits of prolotherapy for painful knees to repair knee meniscus tears, reduce joint pain, improve range of motion and even repair an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tear.

Prolozone is a regenerative therapy developed by Dr. Frank Schallenger that uses ozone, a naturally occurring form of oxygen and an anesthetic, such as procaine. Prolozone may be used to stimulate cartilage growth in the treated joint.

PRP therapy uses the body’s own platelets and growth factors to stimulate healing. It is also a proven treatment to repair and improve function in painful knees. According to a recent orthopedic article, “Treatment with PRP injections can reduce pain and improve knee function and quality of life with short-term efficacy.”

Stem cell therapy is probably the most complicated regenerative procedure that involves the collection of adult stem cells, usually from the abdomen adipose (fat) tissue or bone marrow contents, frequently from the lower leg. Christopher J. Centeno, M.D., has demonstrated increased meniscus volume of the knee by 24 percent after injections of stem cells.

Regenerative medicine addresses the treatment of knee conditions and can also be used to treat other joints in the body, such as the shoulder, spine, pelvis, hips, hands and feet.



Knee surgery that removes the cushion in the knee, called the meniscus, can cause arthritis of the knee. The removal of this natural shock absorption in the knee leads to early wear and tear, which may lead to total knee replacement. Steroid injections can also cause a breakdown of knee cartilage and accelerate degenerative changes in the knee. Other treatments, such as physical therapy and Synvisc injections, do not repair damaged knee cartilage.

Regenerative medicine injection treatments provide safe, reasonable and proven orthopedic procedures that provide significant relief to patients with painful knee conditions. These therapies treat the cause of the problem — damaged and weakened cartilage, ligament and tendons.

Strengthening these structures slows down and can even reverse the degenerative changes associated with painful knees. Regenerative medicine treatments should be considered for the treatment of arthritic and painful knees when other treatments have failed and particularly when surgery has been recommended.


Roemer, F. W., M.D., Common Knee Surgery May Lead to Arthritis and Cartilage Loss, 2015, Radiological Society of North America.


Fred G. Arnold, N.M.D., has more than 20 years of clinical experience and specializes in pain rehabilitation services. He is certified in prolotherapy by the American Association of Orthopedic Medicine, is a Fellow in Anti-Aging & Regenerative Medicine, a Fellow of American Academy of Ozonotherapy and certified in chelation. He is one of the few physicians in the nation with both a naturopathic medical degree and chiropractic degree. or 602-292-2978.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 34, Number 6, December 2015/January 2016.

, ,
Web Analytics