Thursday, August 4, 2016

New York Times article says operations for meniscus tears "next to useless"

The article quotes Dr. Gordon H. Guyatt, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at McMaster University in Hamilton, suggesting that the operation not even be mentioned to patients as an option, or mentioned with the caveat that
“We have randomized clinical trials that produce the highest quality of evidence. They strongly suggest that the procedure is next to useless. If there is any benefit, it is very small and there are downsides, expense and potential complications.”
Why? Because of this study, which compared two groups of "middle aged patients with degenerative meniscal tears," one receiving "twelve weeks of supervised exercise therapy" and the other surgery. In a two-year follow-up no difference in outcome was found between the two groups. The editorial accompanying the release of the study deemed the operation "a highly questionable practice without supporting evidence of even moderate quality," as evidence suggests that the relief patients experience is mostly a result of the placebo effect.

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