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No Arthroscopy Needed for Degenerative Knees and Meniscal Tears

The British Medical Journal has published a clinical practice guideline for the use of arthroscopic surgery for degenerative knee arthritis and meniscal tears, suggesting that many patients will not benefit from such surgery. (Citation source

Reuters reports that globally, > 2 million people annually will have arthroscopic surgery for degenerative knees. These new guidelines recommend against for most patients with knee arthritis arthritis.

In the US the annual cost of arthroscopic knee surgery is nearly $3 billion, and although the risk of serious adverse events is low, its utility was questioned by an multidisciplinary panel who reviewed data from 13 randomized controlled trials.

In the end, the panel strongly recommended against arthroscopy based on a low probability (15%) of improving short-term pain and function that does not last for a year. This is in addition to the burden/pain experienced postoperatively and rare risk of serious adverse effects associated with knee arthroscopy. 

Experts suggest that  intraarticular corticosteroids, physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medications are as effective as surgery for degenerative meniscal tears,


The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose related to this subject

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