Dr. Bart Ferket’s study of knee replacements begins with a few eye-popping facts. Since 2000, the annual rate of that surgery has more than doubled in the United States. More than 640,000 are now performed each year, at a cost of more than $10 billion.
But in some cases, Ferket found, the patients receiving them had relatively mild symptoms, and derived limited physical benefits. Published in BMJ, his study concluded that surgeries on such patients were “economically unjustifiable.”