Journalist: A new study finding the most common orthopedic procedure performed in the United States may not be necessary. Every year around 700,000 people have knee surgery to repair something called a torn meniscus, that is a rubbery disk that cushions the knee. So, what questions should you be asking your doctor? I’m going to bring in Dr. Ron Noy from Prestige Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, an orthopedic surgeon. You’ve got a picture of the knee there. Show us real quickly what we are talking about here.
Dr Noy: Well, in the knee you have the bones, right, you have your femur and your tibia. And in here you have two discs, one on each side. This is the lateral meniscus, and this is the medial meniscus.
Journalist: You get a tear in there, you go in, you clean it out.
Dr. Noy: Well, not always. You have to treat the symptoms, not the MRI scan and not the diagnosis.
Journalist: So, do you buy this study that says there’s a lot of these 700,000 surgeries that don’t need to be done?
Dr. Noy: Well, you actually have to read the study, because the interesting is the study doesn’t actually say that. They say that in their conclusion, but that is not actually what the data is showing. First of all, the study actually is only talking about people that have asymptomatic medial meniscus tears.
Journalist: So what do you do about this situation that, at some level, we have kind of become a pill society. There is a pill for everything. I know there’s a lot of folks who say, “Well, I can eat whatever I want, so long as I take the right pill.” “I don’t have to do my physical therapy workouts, I can just have surgery.” Is there a point where you actually have to listen to what your doctor is saying and not just hope for the magic cure?
Dr. Noy: Well absolutely. Again, in this case, when we’re talking about meniscus tears, the meniscus is important to be there. If you have a tear and it actually needs surgery, meeting the symptoms, you have buckling frequently, locking, recurrent swelling and those kinds of things, you may need the surgery. The people that had the study done, were people that just had pain on the inside of the knee. They weren’t having buckling, they weren’t having locking. So, there was no real reason to do the surgery in the first place.
Journalist: So, bottom line, find a doc that you trust, who will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear and isn’t just looking to do a surgery.
Dr. Noy: Absolutely.
Journalist: Alright Dr. Ron Noy, thanks for joining us today. Harris.