Ineffective surgical procedures are used to treat Canadians with osteoarthritis

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 29 December 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c7436
  1. Barbara Kermode-Scott
  1. 1Ottawa

Thousands of unnecessary therapeutic knee arthroscopies and vertebroplasties continue to be carried out in Canada despite evidence that the procedures are essentially ineffective, reports the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

In December, the institute reported in Health Care in Canada 2010, that in 2008-9 more than 3600 therapeutic knee arthroscopies were performed in Canadian hospitals, despite mounting evidence from randomised controlled trials that the procedure is of little benefit.

The authors explained that studies suggest that arthroscopies fail to improve patient outcomes or reduce discomfort when used to treat osteoarthritis. Also, a substantial number of patients go on to …

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