Arthroscopic surgery on the torn meniscus -- the crescent-shaped cartilage that helps cushion and stabilise knees -- is quite common, but if we are to believe the study conducted in Finland, thousands of people may be undergoing unnecessary surgery.
According to the study, meniscal surgery should be aimed at a narrower group of patients and for many, physical therapy may be a better option, said a report in The New York Times.
Although the Finnish study does say that surgery helps, but it should be performed on younger patients and for tears from acute sports injuries. As nearly 80 percent of tears develop from wear and ageing, surgery in those cases should be significantly limited, it contended.
The Finnish researchers performed the study on volunteer patients. Some received actual surgery while others simulated procedures. They were not told what procedure they went through.
A year later, said the report, most patients in both groups said their knees felt better.
"It's a well-done study. It gives further credence or support to a number of studies that have shown that giving arthroscopy to patients is not always going to make a difference," David Jevsevar of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons was quoted as saying.
The study would spur research to better identify patients who should have surgery, he added.
The study involved five hospitals and 146 patients, ages 35 to 65, with wear-induced tears