On August 3, 2016 the NY Times reported that a recent clinical trial strongly suggests that a surgical procedure to repair meniscal tears in the knee joint to treat pain are "next to useless." What is striking is that about 400,000 middle-aged and older Americans undergo arthroscopic or open meniscus procedures each year. The meniscus is like a slice of cartilage serving as a shock absorber or cushion for the knee joint. As we age the cartilage degenerates and tears causing pain in the knee. But knee pain can also be caused by osteoarthritis which is not cured by meniscal surgery. A meta-analysis published last year of nine clinical trials testing the efficacy of surgery versus physical therapy and/or exercise for knee pain found that the meniscus surgery offered the least benefit.
Another common surgery of dubious benefit for many is the spinal fusion that uses plates and screws to attach adjacent vertebrae to relieve back pain from dried out and/or herniated discs. According to the NY Times report, studies of the efficacy of spinal fusions "completed by the early 2000's...should have been enough to greatly limit or stop the surgery,...but that did not happen." To the contrary, spinal fusions increased despite evidence that those patients had no better pain relief than those who exercised or underwent physical therapy.
Lesson to be learned: research, get a second opinion and ask a lot of questions. If you believe you are worse off following the surgery, consult a malpractice attorney.