Getting Real about Results after Knee SurgeryMore and more patients are becoming part of the decision-making process in health care. Studies show a better result after medical treatment when patients' needs and wants are met. In this study, researchers at Yale University compared doctors' and patients' ratings of knee pain and function for each patient before and after surgery.
Patients either had an anterior cruciate ligament repair or a meniscectomy. Patients and surgeons rated pain and function one week before surgery. Ratings were given three days after and again 24 weeks after the operation.
It turns out doctors downplay patients' pain before surgery. They also say patients will get more function than the patients were expecting after surgery. The doctors base their thinking about function from what they know about other patients after surgery.
The results of this study show that doctors' talks with patients before surgery are important to the final outcome. Shared decisions by patients and doctors are a part of this process. It's important for doctors to know what their patients think is a successful result and to help them achieve it.
Patricia H. Rosenberger, PhD, et al. Shared Decision Making, Preoperative Expectations, and Postoperative Reality: Differences in Physician and Patient Predictions and Ratings of Knee Surgery Outcomes. In Arthroscopy. May 2005. Vol. 21. No. 5. Pp. 562-569.
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