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A half million U.S. surgeries on knee cartilage may be unnecessary

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knee surgeryFinnish researchers found repairing meniscal cartilage in the knee is no more effective than a placebo and about 500,000 U.S. surgeries may be unnecessary.

Adjunct Professor Teppo Jarvinen of the University of Helsinki and the Helsinki University Central Hospital and Raine Sihvonen of Hatanpaa Hospital in Tampere said the most common diagnosis of the knee that requires treatment is a tear in the meniscus -- the shock-absorbing cartilage of the knee. Most of the treated meniscal tears are degenerative -- caused by aging, not trauma.

The treatment involves the partial removal of the meniscus through keyhole surgery via arthroscopy; a minimally invasive surgical procedure using an arthroscope, a type of endoscope inserted into the joint via a small incision.

The study involved 146 participants, ages 35 to 65. The study participants were randomly assigned to undergo either an arthroscopic partial meniscectomy or placebo surgery where the procedure was simulated.


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