There are thousands of unnecessary surgeries being done on the knees and backs of Canadians, particularly patients with osteoarthritis, a new report concludes.
There were 3,600 therapeutic knee arthroscopies and 1,050 vertebroplasties carried out in Canadian hospitals in the fiscal year 2008-09, according to new data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information.
In both cases, there is mounting evidence that the procedures are largely ineffective to combat certain ailments, and those are but two examples cited in the report that more needs to be done to align care with evidence that it actually helps patients, said John Wright, the president and CEO of CIHI. “Evidence and appropriateness of care are a significant issue in Canada’s health-care debate,” he said.
Mr. Wright said improving efficiency is one of the keys to getting health spending under control.
Knee arthroscopy, a minimally invasive surgery, was once used to diagnosis and treat a host of minor knee problems. But it has fallen out of favour as studies showed it did little to reduce pain and that a large number of patients went on to have knee replacements within one year.