A recent New York Times article http://www.nytimes.com reported on a study which involved “people with a torn meniscus, crescent-shaped cartilage that helps cushion and stabilize knees.”
“The Finnish study does not indicate that surgery never helps; there is consensus that it should be performed in some circumstances, especially for younger patients and for tears from acute sports injuries. But about 80 percent of tears develop from wear and aging, and some researchers believe surgery in those cases should be significantly limited.”
“Take 100 people with knee pain; a very high percentage have a meniscal tear,” said Dr. Kenneth Fine, an orthopedic surgeon who also teaches at George Washington University. “People love concreteness: ‘There’s a tear, you know. You have to take care of the tear.’ I tell them, ‘No. 1, I’m not so sure the meniscal tear is causing your pain, and No. 2, even if it is, I’m not sure the surgery’s going to take care of it.” Dr. Fine added: “Yours truly has a meniscal tear. It just causes pain. I’m not having any mechanical symptoms; my knees are not locking. So I’m not going to let anybody operate.”
He likened the recent studies to attempts to educate people that “it’s not really good to take antibiotics for the common cold. There’s a lot of pressure to operate. Financial, obviously. But also, if a primary care doctor keeps sending me patients who are complaining of knee pain and I keep not operating on them, then the primary care doctor is going to stop sending me patients.”
To read the full NYTs article, “ Common Knee Surgery Does Very Little for Some, Study Suggests” by Pam Belluck highlight and click on open hyperlink http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/26/health/common-knee-surgery-does-very-little-for-some-study-suggests.html?_r=2&
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