Common Knee Surgery Doesn’t Help Older Adults

Common Knee Surgery Doesn’t Help Older Adults

A new research study that reviewed knee operations in America indicates they might not have much benefit for patients. The operations are generally conducted to either increase the patient’s ability to move and use their knee properly, or to alleviate existing pain in the joint. All patients in the study were aged sixty-five or older. What the study found was that neither outcome created a better result than patients who declined surgery and stayed on a course of physical therapy to address the problem with their knee.

The procedure being studied was one that repairs damaged cartilage in the knee. Sometimes, either from traumatic injury, overuse, or simple age, the tissue in the knee can become loose or even separated. This impacts mobility and can sometimes cause pain. The arthroscopic surgery that can address the damage is frequently very beneficial in younger patients, but not in older ones.

The new data may change the standard of care for elderly patients. More than a hundred thousand such arthroscopic knee operations occur every year in connection with Medicaid. If physical therapy can offer the same results, avoiding the pain and expense of going under the knife may be the better option. The study’s authors tapped into Medicaid’s database of procedures, and analyzed them to produce their findings.

Key Points:

  • 1Doctors up until now have believed that surgery is an option that works.
  • 2The surgery known as a meniscectomy shows great potential for younger patients but not the elderly.
  • 3After studying the overall data doctors may uses surgery less and physical therapy more.


Many older adults are getting surgery to remove damaged cartilage in the knee even though these operations may not help ease pain or improve mobility in people over 65, a U.S. study suggests.
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HealthStatus has been operating since 1998 providing the best interactive health tools on the Internet, millions of visitors have used our health risk assessment, body fat and calories burned calculators.The HealthStatus editorial team has continued that commitment to excellence by providing our visitors with easy to understand high quality health content for many years.
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HealthStatus has been operating since 1998 providing the best interactive health tools on the Internet, millions of visitors have used our health risk assessment, body fat and calories burned calculators. The HealthStatus editorial team has continued that commitment to excellence by providing our visitors with easy to understand high quality health content for many years.

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