Surgery, therapy both prove good for knee repair

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Associated Press

Posted on March 19, 2013 at 3:01 AM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 19 at 3:30 AM

UNDATED (AP) — A new medical study says physical therapy can be just as good for a common knee injury as surgery — and the cost and the risks are lower.

Dr. Jeffrey Katz of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School lead the study published online by the New England Journal of Medicine.

He says for people with a torn meniscus — a tear in cartilage that cushions the knee — those who stuck with therapy had improved as much at six months and one year later as those who were given arthroscopic surgery right away.

And he says surgery costs about $5,000. Physical therapy is typically $1,000 to $2,000.

But the study also says therapy didn't always help and some people wound up having surgery for the problem.

About one-third of people over 50 have a tear in a meniscus, and arthritis makes this more likely .

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