A recent study has concluded that some of the most common elective orthopedic surgical procedures are no more effective than non-surgical care. The paper was published in the British Medical Journal and examined the effectiveness of arthroscopic knee surgeries, joint replacements, rotator cuff repairs and back surgeries like fusion and decompression. Of all the procedures that were considered, only 2 showed significant benefit over conservative treatment options. They were carpal tunnel decompression and total knee replacement. The authors point out that some of the procedures could not be fairly evaluated because of a lack of research. If such research was available, we would guess that total hip replacement would likely be added to the list of demonstrably beneficial procedures, given our clinical experience. But with regards to problems like knee cartilage tears, rotator cuff tears and lumbar disc herniations, patients appear to be better off opting for treatment like chiropractic and physiotherapy first.
Blom A W, Donovan R L, Beswick A D, Whitehouse M R, Kunutsor S K. Common elective orthopaedic procedures and their clinical effectiveness: umbrella review of level 1 evidence BMJ 2021; 374 :n1511 doi:10.1136/bmj.n1511