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Large Increase in Knee Arthroscopies From ‘96 to ‘06

Last Updated: June 10, 2011.

The number of arthroscopic procedures performed for knee injuries increased by nearly 50 percent between 1996 and 2006, according to a study published in the June 1 issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

FRIDAY, June 10 (HealthDay News) -- The number of arthroscopic procedures performed for knee injuries increased by nearly 50 percent between 1996 and 2006, according to a study published in the June 1 issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Sunny Kim, Ph.D., from the University of California-Davis in Sacramento, and colleagues examined the changes in the utilization of knee arthroscopy, the implications of the change, and the reasons for knee arthroscopy in an ambulatory setting in the United States. Cases of knee arthroscopy or anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction were identified from the National Survey of Ambulatory Surgery carried out in 1996 and 2006.

The investigators found that, from 1996 to 2006, the number of arthroscopic procedures on the knee increased by 49 percent. Although the number of procedures for knee injury increased, the number of procedures for knee osteoarthritis decreased. Knee arthroscopies carried out in freestanding ambulatory surgery centers made up 15 percent of all orthopedic procedures in 1996, but accounted for 51 percent of procedures in 2006. A large increase in knee arthroscopy was seen among middle-aged patients, regardless of gender. Of the approximately 984,607 knee arthroscopic procedures performed in an outpatient setting in 2006, 127,446 procedures were for anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction and nearly 500,000 were for medial or lateral meniscal tears.

"Between 1996 and 2006, the number of knee arthroscopies increased by 49 percent," the authors write. "The increase in knee arthroscopy procedures was much steeper than the growth of the population in the U.S. during the same time period."

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