Placebo Surgery Works As Well As the Scalpel At Much Less Cost
|January 1, 2014||Posted by Staff under Health|
A fake surgical procedure is just as good as real surgery at reducing pain and other symptoms in some patients suffering from torn knee cartilage, according to a new study that is likely to fuel debate over one of the most common orthopedic operations.
As many as 700,000 people in the U.S. undergo knee surgery each year to treat tears in a crescent-shaped piece of cartilage known as the meniscus, which acts as a shock absorber between the upper and lower portions of the knee joints. The tears create loose pieces of cartilage that doctors have long thought interfere with motion of the joints, causing pain and stiffness.
The patients agreed to participate in the study prior to the procedure and were informed they would either receive the surgery or not.
The study of placebo surgery is likely to stir controversy over the minimally invasive procedure, known as partial meniscectomy, which can cost between $3,000 and $6,000. The study’s authors estimated that it accounts for $4 billion in annual medical costs in the U.S.
Doctors have a bad tendency to confuse what they believe with what they know,” said Dr. Järvinen, an orthopedic resident and adjunct professor at Helsinki University Central Hospital.
Ed. Notes: Since doctors can cut us and charge whether we need it or not, does their medical license protect us so much or their monopoly profits? Also, how much faster could medical science proceed on a level playing field, one that did not favor entrenched ways or untried ways but merely consensus between informed doctors and patients, and between researcher and willing subject, and between funder and laboratory? Progress is faster in fields without licenses. Maybe society should give it a try.