By Jadranka Perl

Digging deeper into the AHQR report reveals a clue about the high cost of osteoarthritis. Over 90% of the hospitalization for osteoarthritis involved a knee or hip replacement which brings up the question: Are some joint replacements and other orthopedic procedures being performed when they aren’t medically indicated?

A recent paper in the New England Journal of Medicine concludes that “knee osteoarthritis may affect more than 250 million people and is a leading contributor to disability worldwide. Persuasive evidence from randomized, controlled trials indicates that arthroscopic debridement, lavage, or both are no more effective than sham surgery and nonoperative alternatives for symptomatic knee osteoarthritis”.The original reference, used by the contributor, is New England Journal of Medicine 2013; 368:1740-1741 (2013 May 2 edition, volume 368 (18), pages 1740-1741).

Our comment: 

Acupuncture for osteoarthritis is now approved by virtually every major health plan in the USA (Medicare generally does not cover it except for certain Medicare plans) because it has been proven to be effective as treatment, without adverse effects, and also cost effective.

From Medscape.com, article contributed by Paul Cerrato, MA, of Warwick, NY.