Study Suggests Elective Knee Surgery May Not Help

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2013-12_97377fc7c5.jpgiStockphoto/Thinkstock (NEW YORK) -- The latest study on the effectiveness of arthroscopic knee cartilage surgery found that the procedure may not help at all. The study, conducted in Finland and published in the New England Journal of Medicine looked at 146 patients with torn cartilage in the knee and no evidence of osteoarthritis. One year after surgery, researchers found, there was no difference in knee pain after exercise or the number of patients who required additional surgeries.

In the study, patients either received arthroscopic surgery or a "fake" surgery that involved an operating room and local anesthesia to convince the patients that they were receiving the surgery. The researchers say they took care to mimic the amount of time required for the surgery and the sounds made.

Each year, 700,000 elective knee surgeries are performed in the United States each year, and this study hints that those surgeries may be unnecessary.

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