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Is Arthroscopic surgery effective for arthritic knees?

Arthroscopic knee surgery is a minimally invasive surgical procedure available for those with arthritic knees or meniscal tears. The goal of the surgery is to remove loose bodies and shave/repair bone tissue. It is a surgical procedure that is performed approximately 2 million times per year. But, is it effective and is it necessary?

An international expert panel chaired by McMaster University’s Dr. Reed Siemieniuk reviewed thirteen randomized trials with control groups which concluded that this minimally invasive surgical procedure was useless for knee problems stemming from arthritis. They found that patients who had undergone arthroscopic surgery had the same outcomes as those who didn’t undergo the surgery and there was no long-term benefit. The panel suggested that lifestyle changes such as daily exercise and diet to help with weight loss, physiotherapy treatment, topical creams and (if necessary) painkillers, were more effective treatment options.

Link to journal article: http://www.bmj.com/content/357/bmj.j1982

In my next blog post, I will provide an overview of exercises specific to knee osteoarthritis. If you have any questions or concerns about knee surgery, please come in for a consultation to speak with our excellent practitioners at Lawrence Park Health.

Clarence Lau | Registered Physiotherapist

Resources: 1. CBC News. (2017, May 11). Why Canada is wasting millions on useless knee surgeries. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/arthroscopic-surgery-useless-1.4110569

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