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Arthroscopy to treat osteoarthritis of the knee?

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To the Editor: In their editorial, Buchbinder and Harris conclude that “The use of arthroscopy for knee osteoarthritis has been allowed to continue, exposing patients to an intervention that is at best ineffective, and at worst, harmful”.1

Each year, HCF funds more than 5000 knee arthroscopies in private hospitals alone, and the primary diagnosis is osteoarthritis (coded
as gonarthrosis [arthrosis of the knee]) in more than 1000 of these procedures.

As such, HCF will endeavour to contribute to the debate by surveying members who have a primary diagnosis of gonarthrosis to collect data on self-assessed benefits of knee arthroscopies. It would be fair to say that the patient’s view of the benefits of the procedure is a leading indicator and should form an integral part of assessing the success of knee arthroscopies for osteoarthritis.