Arthroscopy versus sham

These are the kind of studies we need more off. Clearly, when the same was done for vertebroplasty versus sham, it raised the hackles of everyone in the radiology world, because two independent studies showed that vertebroplasty was no better than a sham procedure. Of course that controversy in no way seems to have dampened the use of vertebroplasty.

This week’s NEJM has an article that discusses the value of arthroscopic surgery for meniscal degeneration in patients with osteoarthritis and finds the results no better than sham surgery. We already know this intuitively and from anecdotal experience and this is one of the reasons not to overcall meniscal degeneration as tears to prevent unnecessary arthroscopic exploration of frankly osteoarthritic knees.

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