Arthroscopic Surgery for Meniscal Tears May Be Unnecessary in Many Cases

Could one 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.