Arthroscopic Knee Surgery Called Unnecessary

By Michael Dorausch, D.C.

An estimated 950,000 arthroscopic knee surgeries are reportedly performed each year in the United States, with recent research showing some interesting findings, the procedure is useless.

The study was intended to research one of the most common arthroscopic surgeries performed in the United States — arthroscopy for arthritis of the knee. Findings are published in today’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The study involved 178 men and women and research findings showed that those undergoing the knee surgery did no better than persons receiving physical therapy and medication only.

kneesThis is not the first time a major study has been undertaken to research the procedure, which is performed on hundreds of thousands of Americans each year, with cost averages of $5,000 per procedure. There was a 2002 study that found the knee operations were no better than a sham procedure. Not long after, Medicare reportedly discontinued reimbursement for the operations and the number of claims subsequently decreased significantly.

There was criticism of the 2002 study as all the procedures were carried out by a single surgeon, and all those involved in the study were older adult males, not necessarily the typical patient that would receive such a procedure. According to reports, many of these arthroscopic knee surgeries are still being performed today.

The new research involved both men and women with an average age of 60 years old. According to the study, all of the participants received the standard medical nonsurgical approach which involved physical therapy, pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, glucosamine supplements, and localized injections intended to lubricate the affected knee joint. 86 of the individuals involved in the study also underwent arthroscopic knee surgery.

Follow-up tests were performed every six months for a two-year period and both groups had shown improvement, with reports of less pain and joint stiffness, and increased mobility. According to the study, individuals that didn’t undergo the surgical procedure, improved just as well as those that did.

Researchers pointed out that knee surgery for conditions such as badly torn ligaments or cartilage are different than those performed for arthroscopy to treat knee arthritis. They hope this new research will encourage surgeons to be more selective in offering operations for arthritic conditions and that consumers will be less aggressive in making demands for the procedure.

Think it’s possible that misalignment in the spine, pelvis, or knee itself can result in painful conditions in the knee that may lead to arthritis? Speak to your local chiropractor about postural assessments and other ways to identify properly functioning knee joints. @ 12:40 pm | Article ID: 1221162023