Home E-Weekly July 8, 2014

Are Some Total Knees Totally Unneeded?

Published: July 7, 2014

Knee replacement surgery is being done far more often than is warranted, a new study suggests, signaling the need for a consensus as to when the procedure is appropriate.

The study, published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology and based on analyses of 205 total knee arthroplasty patients, found that the procedure was appropriate in 44% of the cases studied, that the data were inconclusive 21.7% of the time, and that the surgery wasn't warranted for 34.3% of the patients. Evaluations were based on a classification system that included the patient's age, the extent and location of the arthritis and the WOMAC score, an index reflecting pain, stiffness and physical function.

"Most of these subjects either had pain and functional loss profiles that were less than half that of typical patients undergoing TKA or they had no joint space narrowing," write the study's authors, who conducted their research at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

Their analysis comes on the heels of another recent study which estimated that the number of TKAs being done in the U.S. more than tripled between 1993 and 2009.

Jim Burger

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