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New study says knee surgeries may not be necessary

Many of us have known someone who's had knee surgery because it's become such a common procedure. But a new study says it may not be necessary.

700,000 of the minimally invasive variety are performed each year in this country. Intended for patients with torn knee cartilage, it is the most common orthopedic surgery performed in the U.S.

But it could be in vain. So suggests a new study in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine that questions this $4-billion- a-year- industry.

Finnish researchers performed a painstaking trial, giving 150 patients with injuries to their knee cartilage either real surgery, or fake surgery and compared how these patients fared afterwards.

The big surprise after one year, there were no differences in knee pain with exercise between the two groups. And there was no difference in how many had to return for repeat operations.

So for many weekend warriors and devoted athletes the best move of all might be to talk with your doctor before deciding on knee surgery.

With this medical minute, I'm Dr. Timothy Johnson.