Orthopaedic Ethics 3: Ethical Aspects of Placebo

Description:
Placebo or sham surgery controls have been used in a limited fashion in randomized trials of surgical interventions in orthopaedic research but are not without controversy. This module focuses on the definition of placebo (“sham”) surgery; the major differences between medical placebos and sham surgical procedures; the ethical implications of sham surgery versus the benefits it may provide in orthopaedic research; and the ethical criticisms against sham surgical procedures.

Module content created by Matthew J. Matava, MD of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Learning objectives for this Activity:

Understand the definition of placebo (“sham”) surgery and its accepted indications

Identify the major differences between medical placebos and sham surgical procedures

Identify the ethical implications of sham surgery and the proposed benefits it may provide in orthopaedic research

Understand the ethical criticisms against sham surgical procedures


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