In The News: 12/08

Arthroscopic surgery to relieve osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee-a minimally invasive procedure in which small instruments are inserted through tiny incisions to clean the surfaces of joints-is no better than medicine and physical therapy alone, according to a study appearing in the Sept. 11 New England Journal of Medicine. The study included 178 patients, average age 60. Half were randomized to receive arthroscopic surgery along with medical and physical therapy, the other half to medical and physical therapy alone. All had moderate-to-severe osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. After two years, the severity of OA and prevalence of OA symptoms in both groups was virtually the same. Researchers concluded that although arthroscopy provided no additional benefit over physical therapy and medication for knee OA, the procedure may be appropriate for patients who have a coexisting knee problem, such as a torn meniscus.
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