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Surgery for Knee Arthritis May Have No Benefit

A study published Sept. 11 in The New England Journal of Medicine indicates that arthroscopic surgery for osteoarthritis of the knee may provide no benefit to patients.

In a randomized trial of 172 patients with arthritic knees, the half who had the surgery were no better off two years later than the half who were treated only with physical therapy and medication for inflammation.

This Is the Second Study Showing No Benefit

In arthroscopic knee surgery, an orthopedic surgeon makes small incisions in the knee, inserts an arthroscope to examine the knee joint’s condition, and may then shave rough cartilage sites and/or flush existing debris from the joint.

A 2002 study of the surgery’s benefits conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs revealed that the surgery produced no better results than a sham surgery.

Medicare Reimbursement

In 2003, the Medicare program decided to stop paying for arthroscopic knee surgery.

However, doctors can still get reimbursed by Medicare for performing the surgery if they describe the patient’s knee problem in a different way.

There is no national tracking system that determines how many arthroscopic knee surgeries are being performed, or whether they have benefited all patients who underwent the surgery.

(Source: The New York Times)

If you feel that you underwent arthroscopic knee surgery due to the negligence of a medical professional, contact a medical malpractice attorney in your area to discuss your concerns.


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