The most common knee surgery performed on people over 65 is repair of torn meniscus cartilage. The procedure is costly, at up to $10,000 a patient — and it's also usually a waste, if not outright harmful.
"The reasons for overprescribing this surgery are [many] but center on the fact that surgeons are treating patients that are in pain and are attempting to correct this," said Eric Grossman, director of hip and knee replacement surgery at CareMount Medical in Mount Kisco, New York. "Patients want options in treatment of their conditions, and fixes that might not always be realistic. ... The data is conclusive, and surgery in this population is a cautionary tale."