health

Meniscus Surgery or Not?

Meniscus-Surgery-or-Not3-years ago I hurt my knee left knee. I don’t know how I did it. One day I just started experiencing swelling and pain when making lateral movements. It was disappointing because I’d never had an any kind of knee pain; plenty of ankle and shoulder issues, but the knees had been solid.

The orthopedist, after an MRI, diagnosed a torn meniscus and recommended surgery. It is a minimally invasive procedure. I took the advice and we scheduled the operation.

The surgery was no fun, and my body didn’t react well to the general anesthesia, but I got through fine enough and home the same day. After that there is the obviously required recovery.

I know plenty of 40+year olds who have had meniscus surgery and recovered quickly – most just a few weeks. Mine took longer. I don’t know why, as I understand the recovery process and familiar with regular exercise. It wasn’t until a year later when I finally felt my knee was back to normal strength. Okay, maybe I’m a slow healer, but I got there!

A year later, my other (right) knee began to hurt and swell under all too familiar conditions! Ugh. Again, I don’t know how or why.  I seem to be falling apart, rapidly.

I return to the orthopedist. We conclude that it is also a torn meniscus and then have a long conversation about healing without surgery. He gives me the slightest bit of hope that I might be able to do it without the surgical procedure. That was enough for me!

For the next 10-months I do the same rehab protocol that was prescribed for my left knee, but this time on my right. I was my own mini (flawed) control vs. test case experiment.

Fast-forward to today; On occasion, I can for a moment get confused as to which had surgery. They both feel the same. I can play full-court basketball against 20 year olds, carry my golf clubs for 18-holes, ice skate and this winter we’re going skiing.

This personal experience made for reading the Wall Street Journal article, “Fake Knee Surgery as Good as Real Procedure, Study Finds” all that more interesting.

  • DM

    I am so thankful that I did not have neck surgery. When you are in the middle of four months of constant pain you think it will never end. That was about 5 years ago and only two small flare ups since. Physical therapy, yoga, and time is what healed.