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A recent study completed at multiple centers, randomly assigned 351 patients with mild to moderate osteoarthritis on imaging to have either surgery with post operative physical therapy or just standardized physical therapy. They were evaluated over 6 to 12 months. The surgery was a partial meniscectomy. Findings were not statistically significant for outcome in either group. However, the 30% of the surgical group decided to have surgery by 6 months and only 9% of the surgical group decided not to have surgery. There were no more complications in the surgical group than in the non surgical group. At 12 months, the findings were the same. 

Limitations of the study noted as selection bias as many of the patients that refused the study were committed to one treatment or the other. Selective enrollment as referring surgeons may not have referred being uncomfortable with randomizing their patients. 

From the NEJM, Published 03, 19, 2013, from Multicenter, Katz, Jeffrey N, et al.

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