This is one of those useful links to bookmark and share with clients at appropriate times. From The Sydney Morning Herald:
For the first time, the peak body for rheumatologists has publicly urged doctors to try to avoid arthroscopic knee surgery, which can involve washing out the joint or cleaning up the lining, for patients with osteoarthritis, especially if they’re over 50.
A growing body of research has shown the costly surgery is at best a placebo and at worst, downright harmful, placing patients at increased risk of bleeding inside the joint and blood clots, as well as exposing them to surgical risks such as infections and death.
High-quality studies appeared as early as 2002, but the number of Medicare-funded arthroscopic knee surgeries escalated by 30 per cent in the following 10 years to 58,700 in 2013.
Check out that graph… During those peak 4 years 234,417 knee arthroscopies were undertaken (Australian population at the time was about 22 million). Good thing the surgeons performing all of those arthroscopies were quick to jump on the “high quality studies”, it only took 10 years for behaviour to change.
Snark aside, there’s a learning opportunity here for a patient whose just been told they need a ‘scope for their OA knee, or, been told they don’t need surgery despite their (societally induced) thinking that they do. Something like “In the past few years, the entire medical profession has realised that too many people were having unnecessary knee surgery and has been drastically reducing the number of people that go under the knife – check out this graph. This has meant less risk, less complications, and for most, better outcomes” (that very last bit isn’t supported by this data per se, but it makes sense).
The article also has a nice personal story woven in that patients may also relate to
…Her first surgeon booked her in for arthroscopic knee surgery, but it had to be postponed because of a cancer diagnosis in the family. She never went ahead with it and says it’s one of the best decisions she’s ever made.
“I got more opinions and the third surgeon referred me to a rheumatologist who said I should first consider making lifestyle changes, like losing weight and doing knee-focused exercises, and the pain went down from nine out of 10 to three out of 10,”
“I’ve been doing various different activities because we have a large garden and I haven’t thought about arthritis pain until this conversation,” she continued.
“I’m not entirely free of pain, but there are some days when I have absolutely no pain, and it’s fantastic.”
Bookmark it, Pin it, save it, or, print it and slip it in a drawer – a handy little bit of ‘educational ammunition’ to add to your collection.