Gilbert was 59 years old when he was first evaluated for a three-month-old knee injury. He was limping due to a meniscus tear, and was he was headed toward a knee-replacement surgery. Instead, he chose a regenerative stem-cell procedure. Four years later, his treated knee remains 95 percent better. How’s that for a knee meniscus surgery outcome in a patient who skipped the surgery?

Before receiving the stem-cell procedure, Gilbert had knee pain that would at times shoot up to a nine out of 10. His MRI showed a hole in the cartilage, swelling in the bone, as well as a meniscus tear. Usually meniscus tears in this age group (middle-aged and older) are as common as wrinkles and about as clinically meaningful, but this one fit with Gilbert’s complaints. The meniscus is a spacer that absorbs shock to protect the cartilage. The cartilage lives on the end of the bones and allows them to glide more smoothly past each other. Gilbert also had problems in his ligaments. These normally protect the knee by keeping it aligned and stable, sort of like duct tape.

In early 2011, Gilbert received three Regenexx SCP injections into the meniscus and ligaments. As of late 2015, that knee is still 95 percent better, which is an amazing result compared with knee surgery, which is shown to be ineffective, a steroid shot that would have lasted a few months, or a hyalurionic acid shot would have lasted maybe six to nine months.

Gilbert avoided a late 20th-century ineffective knee surgery and replaced that with an early 21st-century treatment, using his own precisely injected, highly concentrated platelets to reduce pain and increase function. Four years later, it’s clearly the best decision he could have made. Unfortunately, many patients like Gilbert are talked into ineffective surgeries because they’re covered by insurance, although these days with high deductibles, co-insurance, and co-pays surgery still costs patients lots of money. Think twice before you let yourself get talked into a surgery that removes important parts and pieces of critical structures like the meniscus.

“Knee Meniscus Surgery Outcome” first appeared as a post on the Regenexx blog.