Most Popular Knee Surgery Is a Big Waste for Many
Study: arthroscopic surgery as good as fake surgery for some meniscus tears
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 26, 2013 7:43 AM CST
Updated Dec 29, 2013 7:14 AM CST
   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – If you're anticipating having arthroscopic surgery in the new year to fix your torn meniscus, bad news for you: A new study found the procedure is, for many, as effective as ... fake surgery. That could have big implications, considering the US spends an estimated $4 billion a year on what ranks as the No. 1 orthopedic procedure; some 700,000 take place each year. The surgery is often done in the pursuit of ending pain thought to be caused by the cartilage tear, which results in loose, ragged pieces of cartilage that doctors believe impairs knee-joint motion, reports the Wall Street Journal. But the study, out of Finland, has different implications for different patients: for the young, or those who tore the cartilage in what the New York Times terms an "acute sports injury," the surgery can be useful.

But for those whose tears are the result of the wear that can accompany aging knees—the case about 80% of the time—other options like physical therapy may be the wiser course. The set-up for the study was a thorough one: All 146 patients underwent anesthesia and had an incision made; except some of them didn't actually have the surgery. A year later, the majority of patients in both the real and fake surgery group said their knees were improved, and they would opt for the same "surgery" again. One orthopedic surgeon says part of the problem is that the tear may not be causing the pain (osteoarthritis could be the culprit in some cases). But "there's a lot of pressure to operate," he says. "Financial, obviously. But also, if a primary care doctor keeps sending me patients who are complaining of knee pain and I keep not operating on them, then the primary care doctor is going to stop sending me patients." (Click to read about a new body part recently discovered ... in the knee.)

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Showing 3 of 27 comments
julianpenrod
Dec 29, 2013 3:05 PM CST
Yet another demonstration of the criminal nature of Obama's “healthcare” betrayal of the public. A form of surgery that is common, and expensive, but generally useless. Along with the other crimes against the public by “doctors”. All for a “healthcare” system built only for fleecing those who are gullible and likely desperate. In fact, “medical” treatment is likely many times as expensive as qualified, genuinely, legitimately qualified treatment. Phantom ailments treated as if they were real. “Medication” that is little more than deliberately misprescribed petrochemical waste. “Medications for one minor ailment producing a dozen side effect conditions, requiring more “medication”. The “medical” racket is many times overcharging those who believe it is anything more than a swindle. And “health” insurance raises its prices regularly to cover it. In other words, the real fault in many if not most people not having “health” insurance is that the system is corrupt and crooked, charging more than it deserves. Handling the problem then, legitimately, would involve a complete investigation of the “medical” racket, to prove it is rampantly overcharging, then bringing it in line. Instead, Obama violates the public's Constitutional rights by requiring that they buy insurance, to give the impression that insurance is now “affordable”. As the “medical” racket swindle continues raising its prices, though, even “Obamacare” “insurance” will raise prices, lower benefits and reject coverage on any number of policies. But far be it from the political thieves to disenfranchise their crooked cronies. Far be it from the crooks in office to admit they have stock in drug companies and family in the “medical” and “insurance“ rackets, which tainted every single last one of their votes for the anti Constitutional Obama swindle! So much like the solution of global warming blamed on “fossil fuels”. Don't rein the industries in, instead, launch a few hundred giant umbrellas into space to eliminate all sunlight and rob the “rank and file” of blue skies.
fred lapides
Dec 29, 2013 7:41 AM CST
kotylynn why is it that people like you must spit venom no matter what the issue? are you unable to be civil? fact: stop badmouthing Obama and the health program befauwse it is our insurance industry that denies so much to those who pay a lot into their coffers. tip: for possible injuries of the type here mentioned, make sure you get an MRI because Xray often does not show the tear.
homer57
Dec 27, 2013 3:24 PM CST
Here's one people will discredit and/or say won't work, but here it is anyway! I am retired from Naval service and did time on many vessals, large vessals, and had what we called "NAVY KNEES"! I had trouble walking up a staircase with out some minor pain, but it was annoying! So i began to do some study on the matter! i am a proponant of do it yourself meds/holistics! So, someone older, recommended what is called Ginger beer, and Ginger "ROOT" So, i took it and I still take it, and I juust got back off a Cruise to Bermuda etc and walked the staircases every day for 7 days, and.....NO pain! None in my 2 story home any more either! Ginger does work. It will fix your knees provided there is NO structural damage! I have heard that Ginger is sort of a Lubricant for the knees, BUT i can tell you it sure worked for me!! Oh, and it gets rid of my acid reflux...I take it anytime, before during or after a meal!!! Hope someone can use this remedy!!