There is an excellent article in this month’s Bulletin of the Royal College of Surgeons of England about the use of placebo surgery in clinical trials of surgical interventions. The article discusses many of the practical and ethical issues around the use of placebo procedures, including when they should and should not be considered. Interestingly, only 75 studies employing a placebo control procedure were identified in the literature across all surgical specialities.
The article is accompanied by a position statement from the RCS Policy Unit, aiming to increase awareness and adoption of surgical controls in trials. Both articles are well worth a read.