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One of the directors of the Surgical Intervention Trials Unit is a co-author on a paper published recently in the BMJ on the use of placebo controls in the evaluation of surgery.

Use of placebo controls in the evaluation of surgery systematic review

The paper published in the BMJ concludes that the placebo controlled trial is a powerful, feasible way of showing the efficacy of surgical procedures. The risks of adverse effects associated with the placebo are small. In half of the studies, the results provide evidence against continued use of the investigated surgical procedures. Without well designed placebo controlled trials of surgery, ineffective treatment may continue unchallenged.  To access the paper online click here.