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Keywords:

  • Cellular therapies;
  • sham surgery;
  • public health;
  • placebo-controlled randomised controlled trials;
  • evidence-based medicine

Abstract

Sham surgery was introduced as a means for improving the methodological quality of surgical research and evaluation. The development of cellular-based surgical therapies for the treatment of Parkinson's disease provides an opportunity to carefully analyse the alleged methodological benefits of sham surgery. However, detailed analysis of the evidence does not support these hypothesised advantages. In this paper, we argue that sham surgery is a public health concern as vulnerable individuals are exposed to unnecessary and costly surgical procedures that have no benefits for ensuring rigorous health research.