Research findings are cause of some confusionEDITOR:
The recent research work on arthroscopic treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee is a good example of the use of randomized research methods to evaluate the efficiency of surgical treatment. We take these new research findings seriously and plan to closely study them as to the implications they have for orthopaedic treatment of knee osteoarthritis in the future. All of medicine and surgery would benefit from more of this type of evidence-based scientific evaluation of treatments used by physician and surgeons daily.
However, it is a mistake to use this research publication, focused on osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis of the knee, to suggest that knee arthroscopy is ineffective for treating knee pain caused by torn cartilage or ligaments, conditions far more likely to have an arthroscopic treatment than is osteoarthritis. Over the past 25 years, thousands of clinical research publications have confirmed the effectiveness of arthroscopic knee surgery in reliving knee pain of literally millions of Americans.
It is important for our patients to know that osteoarthritis of the knee constitutes only a small segment of those who have arthroscopic knee surgery and for the much larger group with torn cartilage and ligaments, arthroscopic surgery remains effective, less invasive, and more cost effective treatment than was available prior to its advent.
VERNON T. TOLO, MD
PETER FOWLER, MD
X Dr. Tolo is President of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; Dr. Fowler is president of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.