Two articles on PainSci cite Laupattarakasem 2008: 1. The Complete Guide to Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome 2. Knee Surgery Sure is Useless!
PainSci notes on Laupattarakasem 2008:
A fascinating 2002 experiment (see Moseley) showed that people who received a fake arthroscopic knee surgery had results just as good as people who received the real surgery for osteoarthritis. Six years later, The Cochrane Collaboration published this report, concluding that “there is ‘gold’ level evidence that arthoscopic debridement has no benefit.” A few months later in the summer of 2008, New England Journal of Medicine (Kirkley) added more experimental evidence to the pile, reporting that “surgery for osteoarthritis of the knee provides no additional benefit to optimized physical and medical therapy.”
original abstract †Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.
BACKGROUND: Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is a progressive disease that initially affects the articular cartilage. Observational studies have shown benefits for arthroscopic debridement (AD) on the osteoarthritic knee, but other recent studies have yielded conflicting results that suggest AD may not be effective.
OBJECTIVES: To identify the effectiveness of AD in knee OA on pain and function. SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library Issue 2, 2006); MEDLINE (1966 to August, 2006); CINAHL (1982 to 2006); EMBASE (1988 to 2006) and Web of Science (1900 to 2006) and screened the bibliographies, reference lists and cited web sites of papers. SELECTION CRITERIA: We included randomised controlled trials (RCT) or controlled clinical trials (CCT) assessing effectiveness of AD compared to another surgical procedure, including sham or placebo surgery and other non-surgical interventions, in patients with a diagnosis of primary or secondary OA of the knees, who did not have other joint involvement or conditions requiring long term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The main outcomes were pain relief and improved function of the knee. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two review authors independently selected trials for inclusion, assessed trial quality and extracted the data. Results are presented using weighted mean difference (WMD) for continuous data and relative risk (RR) for dichotomous data, and the number needed to treat to benefit (NNTB) or harm (NNTH).
MAIN RESULTS: Three RCTs were included with a total of 271 patients. They had different comparison groups and a moderate risk of bias. One study compared AD with lavage and with sham surgery. Compared to lavage the study found no significant difference. Compared to sham surgery placebo, the study found worse outcomes for AD at two weeks (WMD for pain 8.7, 95% CI 1.7 to 15.8, and function 7.7, 95% CI 1.1 to 14.3; NNTH=5) and no significant difference at two years. The second trial, at higher risk of bias, compared AD and arthroscopic washout, and found that AD significantly reduced knee pain compared to washout at five years (RR 5.5, 95% CI 1.7 to 15.5; NNTB=3). The third trial, also at higher risk of bias, compared AD to closed-needle lavage, and found no significant difference.
AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: There is 'gold' level evidence that AD has no benefit for undiscriminated OA (mechanical or inflammatory causes).
- “A controlled trial of arthroscopic surgery for osteoarthritis of the knee,” JB Moseley, K O’Malley, NJ Petersen, and others, New England Journal of Medicine, 2002.
- “A Randomized Trial of Arthroscopic Surgery for Osteoarthritis of the Knee,” Alexandra Kirkley, Trevor B Birmingham, Robert B Litchfield, J Robert Giffin, Kevin R. Willits, Cindy J. Wong, Brian G. Feagan, Allan Donner, Sharon H Griffin, Linda M D’Ascanio, Janet E Pope, and Peter J Fowler, New England Journal of Medicine, 2008.
This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights:
- No long-term effects after a three-week open-label placebo treatment for chronic low back pain: a three-year follow-up of a randomized controlled trial. Kleine-Borgmann 2022 Pain.
- Exercise and education versus saline injections for knee osteoarthritis: a randomised controlled equivalence trial. Bandak 2022 Ann Rheum Dis.
- Association of Lumbar MRI Findings with Current and Future Back Pain in a Population-based Cohort Study. Kasch 2022 Spine (Phila Pa 1976).
- A double-blinded randomised controlled study of the value of sequential intravenous and oral magnesium therapy in patients with chronic low back pain with a neuropathic component. Yousef 2013 Anaesthesia.
- Is Neck Posture Subgroup in Late Adolescence a Risk Factor for Persistent Neck Pain in Young Adults? A Prospective Study. Richards 2021 Phys Ther.