Arthroscopy to treat osteoarthritis of the knee?

Rachelle Buchbinder and Ian A Harris
Med J Aust 2012; 197 (7): . || doi: 10.5694/mja12.11201
Published online: 1 October 2012

Changing clinician beliefs and behaviour in response to credible evidence of lack of treatment efficacy remains highly challenging

Arthroscopy is commonly used to treat people with knee pain due to osteoarthritis. However, data collected from randomised controlled trials over the past two decades have provided compelling evidence that, in general, arthroscopic treatment comprising debridement and lavage is no more effective than placebo surgery or non-operative alternatives,1,2 and observational data suggest that it may mean a joint replacement is needed sooner.3

  • Rachelle Buchbinder1,2
  • Ian A Harris3,4

  • 1 Monash Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Cabrini Health, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 2 Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 3 South Western Sydney Clinical School, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW.
  • 4 Whitlam Orthopaedic Research Centre, Sydney, NSW.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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