Arthroscopic Surgery for Meniscal Tears May Be Unnecessary in Many Cases

Could 1 of the most popular surgical procedures in the United States be unnecessary many of the approximately 700,000 times it is performed each year?

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that might be the case for arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus—particularly if the tear is a result of wear and aging, as opposed to a traumatic event.

As the New York Times reported (“Common Knee Surgery Does Very Little for Some, Study Suggests” – December 25, 2013), a Finnish study of 146 patients between the ages of 35 and 65 found that those who had arthroscopic surgery had no better level of satisfaction 1 year later than had others in the study who had undergone a mock surgical procedure.

“Those who do research have been gradually showing that this popular operation is not of very much value,” Dr David Felson told the Times.

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