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No value in knee surgery for arthritis?

The New England Jounal of Medicine, one of the most prestigious journals in America, reported last week that surgery is apparently of no value in alleviating arthritis pain in the knee joint.  Patients who underwent physical therapy and took anti-inflammatories did just as well, after two years, as patients who had undergone surgery.  The results confirm a study performed in 2002 which reached the same conclusion, but was designed and conducted in a different manner.  Apparently removing debris from an arthritic knee joint contributes very little to a positive outcome.  A separate study in the same issue of the NEJoM pointed out that painful knee joints did not correlate well with the discovery of torn cartilage in the joint.  Most people with arthritis have a torn meniscus (the pie-shaped cartilage that keeps the femur and tibia from operating "bone-on-bone"), but many people with torn menisci are symptom-free.

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