• Open Access

A critical analysis of evidence for using sham surgery in Parkinson's disease: implications for public health


Correspondence to: Mr Stephen Polgar, School of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, La Trobe University, Kingsbury Drive, Bundoora, Victoria 3086. Fax: (03) 9479 1783; e-mail: s.polgar@latrobe.edu.au


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.