Arthroscopic surgery on the meniscus, (having your knee “scoped”) is the most common orthopedic procedure in the United States, performed, studies say, about 700,000 times a year. Unfortunately, research is suggesting that a high percentage of these surgeries are ineffective.
“Those who do research have been gradually showing that this popular operation is not of very much value,” said Dr. David Felson, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Boston University.
Many studies, both in the U.S. and in Europe, are concluding that there is a high incidence of degenerative changes, a high rate of re-operation, and a relatively low functional outcome score for patients who have arthroscopic surgery.
Though researchers feel these surgeries should still be performed in some circumstances, especially for younger patients and for tears from acute sports injuries, about 80 percent of tears develop from wear and aging, and some researchers believe surgery, in those cases, should be significantly limited.
In one study, 146 patients 35 to 65 years of age who had knee symptoms consistent with a degenerative medial meniscus tear and no knee osteoarthritis were randomly assigned to two groups. One group had surgery and the other group had a “sham” surgery.
The Astonishing Results From Baseline to 12 Months?
There were NO significant change between groups in ANY primary outcome.
Conclusion was that there was no difference between those who had the surgery and those who had the sham surgery.
New England Journal of Medicine Study http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1305189