The research that has supported using surgery to treat meniscus tears is collapsing. Study after study shows that this common surgery doesn’t work and likely sets up patients for more problems down the road. There is one type of meniscus tear, however, that has been thought always to require surgery—a flipped bucket-handle tear. This type of tear occurs when the meniscus pulls apart and one piece flips over, usually causing locking of the joint.  Following is one patient’s experience of skipping surgery and having her bucket-handle meniscus tear treated with an injection of her own stem cells.

For some background, The meniscus is a shock-absorbing spacer that sits between the two cartilage surfaces of the knee. One author has characterized meniscus tears as being as common as we age as wrinkles—and about as important.  The particularly difficult flipped bucket-handle tear, however, is definitely more serious than a wrinkle, and such a tear does require treatment.

D.M., a patient first examined in April, 2014, was experiencing knee-locking, and her MRI had shown a flipped bucket-handle tear. She also had a chronic issue with her low back that likely led to her knee problems. Her knee was treated with precise injections of stem cells into her meniscus tear using the Regenexx-SD procedure. Her low back was treated with the Regenexx-PL-Disc procedure. Here’s a note her doctor recently received from her:

Next month will be the one-year anniversary of when you worked on my knee. The meniscus had been torn quite severely as the result of playing hockey with my kids. I am happy to report that with your help and lots of prayer I am 99 percent healed. Thank you so much for helping me  

Surgery would have removed the flipped portion of this patient’s meniscus, leaving her with less spacer and a higher risk for arthritis. Her non-surgical treatment used a precise injection of her own stem cells under ultrasound guidance.

Can You Treat a Meniscus Tear Without Surgery? first appeared on a post on the Regenexx blog.