The soft tissues of the knee joint can wear away and cause pain, limiting quality of life and the ability to participate in day-to-day activities. It’s estimated that about 16,000 persons have osteoarthritis of the knee in Ontario. Most arthroscopies (68.4 percent) currently conducted in Ontario are for osteoarthritis or degenerative knee injury. An arthroscopy is a procedure in which a fibre-optic camera is inserted through a small incision and allows a surgeon to see and even repair some types of joint damage.
Health Quality Ontario Reviews Arthroscopic Debridement
Arthroscopic debridement is a surgical treatment that extracts any loose material in the knee joint and can smooth the surfaces inside the knee. It is more accessible when comparted to total knee replacements or alternatives such as physical therapy for patients who live far from cities or have little time or money. There are ethical concerns with providing surgery that is not proven to be better than less invasive alternatives. However, there are also ethical concerns about not giving patients an alternative treatment that might be effective.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care endorses these recommendations.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has provided the following response: Although the Ministry is not aware of a field evaluation having taken place, arthroscopic meniscectomy is an insured service in Ontario and these recommendations are included in the Ministry and Health Quality Ontario's clinical handbook on knee arthroscopy, which is a publicly funded quality-based procedure.