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Key hole knee operations are no better than painkillers, says leading surgeon

Many knee operations conducted by keyhole surgery are no more effective than painkillers, according to a leading surgeon.

Professor Andrew Carr said the success of such procedures was often down to the ‘placebo effect’, where patients feel better as a result of their belief in the treatment.

He warned some who had keyhole knee surgery suffered serious complications such as infections or pulmonary embolisms. ‘Some people die,’ he said.

‘I don’t think we should be doing operations where the entire effect is placebo,’ the founder and director of the University of Oxford Institute of Musculoskeletal Sciences told the Cheltenham Science Festival.

Professor Carr was discussing a study comparing patients who underwent keyhole surgery with those who had simply had an anaesthetic and incision but no surgical procedure.

The research by scientists at Lund University in Sweden involved a systematic review of previous studies of arthroscopy used to treat pain caused by tears in cartilage or arthritis.

Read more in the Daily Mail.

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