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Don’t have this operation

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Last year, more than 200,000 Americans had a serious operation that, researchers say, was totally unnecessary. Don’t let your doctor cut you open for this frivolous surgery.

According to a study at Virginia Commonwealth University, of the 600,000 knee replacements performed last year in the U.S., at least 34 percent were “inappropriate.”

During the past 15 years, Medicare-covered knee replacement surgery has increased 162 percent every year. Until this study, experts have argued whether all these knee replacements were really necessary.

The mean age of people who received knee replacement in the research was 67 years. About 60 percent of the recipients were women. An analysis of the results demonstrates that 44 percent of the surgeries were appropriate, 22 percent were inconclusive and 34 percent were deemed inappropriate.

“Our finding that one third of knee replacements were inappropriate was higher than expected and linked to variation in knee pain, OA (osteoarthritis) severity and functional loss. These data highlight the need to develop patient selection criteria in the U.S.,” says researcher Daniel L. Riddle.

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