Bone Marrow Lesions - a New Solution

Forest T. Heis, M.D.

Millions of Americans suffer from chronic knee pain.  Often the culprits are bone marrow lesions (BMLs) - areas of microscopic fractures resulting from weakened bone in the knee joint.

In the past, there hasn't been an ideal way to treat BMLs, says Dr. Forest Heis.  However, a new procedure called Subchondroplasty offers an effective and minimally invasive solution.

When patients complain of chronic, non-acute knee pain that's been lasting for a few weeks, the first course of treatment will be common sense things such as ice, elevation, anti-inflammatory medications and avoiding activities that exacerbate the pain, Dr. Heis says.

Long-standing pain that isn't responding to more conservative treatments typically leads the physician to order an MRI.  An MRI may reveal issues with the knee such as a torn meniscus, but sometimes it may reveal that the patient has areas of BMLs.

In addition to pain, BMLs are associated with a much greater risk for developing osteoarthritis.  Further patients with BMLs tend to require knee replacement surgery at much higher rates and at a younger age than those who don't have BMLs.