In fact, the benefits-such as less pain or greater mobility-usually disappear within a year, and yet the surgery comes with a host of risks.
The procedure, known as arthroscopy, increases the risks for deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism (a blockage of the main artery of the lung), infection and even death.
And the benefits of surgery seemed to disappear within one to two years, researchers from the University of Southern Denmark discovered. As such, arthroscopy is not suitable for middle-aged and older patients with knee pain, whether or not they have osteoarthritis, they conclude.
They based their findings on a review of nine studies, involving 1,270 patients aged between 48 and 63 years. Most patients reported a "small but significant" reduction in pain immediately after surgery, but the ain started to return after six months or so. Mobility wasn't improved by the procedure.
(Source: BMJ, 2015; 350: h2747)