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Common Knee Surgery is Ineffective

Update Date: Dec 26, 2013 01:23 PM EST

Doctors and patients often elect to have surgery when there are no other effective treatments left. Surgeries, regardless of how routine or simply certain procedures may be, are still dangerous, risky and potentially fatal. In a new study, researchers found that the most common kind of knee surgery is not any more effective than fake knee surgery.

For this study, the researchers recruited 146 participants who suffered from knee pain. Their pain appeared to be caused by the wear and tear of the meniscus, which is responsible for cushioning the bones in the knee. The volunteers did not have a recognized injury or osteoarthritis, which would have rendered the surgery ineffective. Some of the participants were randomly assigned to have surgery to repair the meniscus and others were given fake knee surgery.

The researchers found that after one year, improvements in knee comfort in both groups were the same. From the surgery group, 77 percent of the patients reported being satisfied with their outcome. 93 percent of the people in this group stated that they would get the surgery again. In the sham group, 70 percent of the people were satisfied. Around 96 percent of the people in this group said they would get the surgery again.

The lead researcher, Dr. Teppo Jarvinen from the University of Helsinki concluded that knee surgery was not any more effective as fake knee surgery for one year post operation. Based on the findings, the researchers believe that doctors might need to reconsider recommending knee surgery. Experts explained that fake knee surgery could be as effective because this procedure relieves some of the pain involved with the meniscus.

"If you scope the knee [without touching the cushion], that will often help even if you don't completely address the torn meniscus issue," Dr. Craig Bennett, the chief of sports medicine at the University of Maryland Medical Center, said according to FOX News. "You're taking out the junky, thick irritating fluid that can give a lot of people their pain."

The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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