arthroscopy surgery for knee pain

According to recent studies, early intervention of physical therapy greatly reduces the need for arthroscopy surgery in patients that experience complications with their knees – including meniscal tears, mechanical problems, osteoarthritis, and degenerative conditions.

Data abounds that concludes that arthroscopy of the knee is considered the most commonly performed orthopedic procedure implemented among patients with problems of this component of the body. While small gains and benefits are immediately experienced by knee problem sufferers, arthroscopy surgery is known to result in postoperative limitations and numerous adverse effects that may prove to be exceptionally serious.

Those that specialize in total care procedures have found that physical therapy is the optimal choice for patients that seek long-term positive outcomes.

The Random Trial Results

The results of a random trial were made known in a June 2016 publication of The BMJ regarding the use of knee arthroscopy in patients that were suffering from a degenerative-based medial meniscus tear. The comprehensive trial was able to conclude that the arthroscopy procedure was considered to be no more beneficial than the implementation of an exercise program consisting of physical therapy techniques for patients suffering from the condition.

However, despite this fact, most medical doctors believe that the surgical procedure is an effective means of improving pain and optimizing function. When performed, most doctors also perform a comprehensive washout that cleans the area of articular-based debris and/or the removal of meniscus that is damaged.

Basic Statistics

According to the data that is currently available, arthroscopic surgery for knee complications is performed in excess of two million times, annually. In the United States, the costs incurred by these surgeries exceed $3 billion. While many medical doctors benefit financially from these procedures, the costs weigh heavily on the healthcare industry.

Despite the fact that many patients turn to this procedure for pain relief, it was discovered that less than 15% of those that had the surgery performed only had minor improvements in terms of pain and/or function.

Patient Outcomes

When the trial panel evaluated patients, they focused on three distinct areas – in terms of patient outcomes. These included the pain experienced by the patient, the functionality of the knee after the procedure, as well as the general quality of life experienced by the patient. Based on the evaluation of these particular patient outcomes, it was established that patients experience far fewer benefits than that which is accomplished by physical therapy.

Conservative management of a patient’s symptoms is more ideal than aggressive treatments – such as surgery. Not only this, but the conservative treatments result in less costs and financial hardships on the healthcare industry. As a physical therapist, we should strive to encourage patients to opt for conservative treatments.

By joining a network, we can work together to ensure that we convince the healthcare industry that these conservative treatments are also optimal when it comes to total care quality networks.

If you would like to learn more about optimizing patient outcomes, visit our blog today at: