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Researchers Find Knee Surgeries Unnecessary

Update Date: Dec 30, 2013 10:04 AM EST

Knee arthroscopic surgery is often unnecessary and might not be effective in most of the cases, according to new research from Finnish researchers.

Researchers found that repairing meniscal cartilage in the knee is not effective anymore than a placebo. They suspected that about 500,000 U.S. surgeries might be proved useless.

Adjunct Professor Teppo Jarvinen of the University of Helsinki and the Helsinki University Central Hospital and Raine Sihvonen of Hatanpaa Hospital in Tampere believe that the most common diagnosis of the knee that requires treatment is a tear in the meniscus. This is the shock absorbing cartilage of the knee. Majority of the treated meniscal tears were degenerative and they are not caused by trauma but by aging.

Total of 146 participants, aged between 35 to 65 were considered in the study. They were randomly assigned to undergo in two kinds of treatment. The one involved an arthroscopic partial meniscectomy while the other was placebo surgery in which the procedure was simulated.

Finally after one year of the procedure, patients who underwent the partial meniscectomy, around 93 percent chose the same treatment while 96 percent of the participants in placebo preferred the same.

“By ceasing the procedures, which have proven ineffective, we would avoid performing 10,000 useless surgeries every year in Finland alone,” Sihvonen said, according to “The corresponding figure for the United States is at least 500,000 surgeries.”

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

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