Sham-surgery or surgical placebo is increasingly used in orthopaedic randomized controlled trials. Most notable studies include comparison between sham-surgery and arthroscopic partial meniscectomy in knee and arthoscopic subacromial decompression in shoulder. These studies have truly challenged the traditional treatment guidelines in degenerative knee and shoulder conditions. I have previously posted about population level changes in these surgeries.
Study by Sochacki et al., titled Sham Surgery Studies in Orthopedic Surgery May Just Be a Sham: A Systematic Review of Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trials, was recently published in the Arthroscopy journal.
As the name suggest this study is not really favoring sham-controlled studies. One of the main conclusion was as follows:
Randomized sham-controlled studies in orthopaedic sports medicine have significant methodologic deficiencies that may invalidate their conclusions.
I´ll leave this study here for now. This study is really thought provoking and in near future, I shall post lots of writing related to this piece.