Popular Surgery 'Useless' For Knee Arthritis

Arthroscopy no more effective than meds, physical therapy: study
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2008 5:59 AM CDT
Knee surgeries to treat arthritis, performed on hundreds of thousands of patients in the US each year, are ineffective and unnecessary, according to a new study.   (KRT Photos)
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(Newser) – Arthroscopic surgery, performed on almost a million Americans every year, is a useless treatment for arthritis of the knee, a new study reports. Researchers found that 178 arthritic patients who had surgery, physical therapy, and medication fared no better than patients who had medication and therapy alone. The procedure, which removes loose debris and smooths the joint, could still help with other knee problems such as badly torn ligaments, reports the Washington Post.

The findings support a controversial 2002 study that was generally ignored because it only included older men. The new study included a more representative sample of men and women. "You have the baby boomer population driving a lot of this" surgery, said one observer. “They really think that they can turn the clocks back and surgery can fix everything.”