Detailed guides to painful problems, treatments & more

New article about knee replacement 

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
Get posts in your inbox:
Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

A family member is considering knee replacement surgery, so I got to work on this topic much sooner than I would have otherwise. (I can hear the groaning of all the people who have begged me to write about other topics. Sorry!)

Knee replacement is crazy popular — and profitable for surgeons — but still not yet based on good evidence of efficacy. Which is a weirdly prevalent problem in the history of orthopedic surgery.

The purpose of this new article is just to raise questions. And to encourage patient to ask surgeons those questions. The bottom line:

Does knee replacement work? No one really knows, period — there simply isn’t enough of the right kind of evidence. It is effectively an experimental treatment. Meanwhile, there is now substantial evidence that several similar surgeries cannot help people more than a sham. If your surgeon reacts defensively to these concerns, seek a second opinion.