Monday, January 2, 2012

One comment from an orthopedic surgeon from the recent NY times article

I read through a few hundred comments from the NY times article published on this blog a few days ago (http://www.mydepuyhiprecall.com/2011/12/high-cost-of-failing-artificial-hips.html) and thought this was an interesting comment from an orthopedic surgeon:



As an orthopaedic surgeon, I have been following this series of articles with great interest. I think it would be informative for the NYT staff to write about the evolution of this particular type of hip replacement (i.e. metal on metal) because I think the readership would be surprised to discover that an earlier generation of these devices were abandoned due to high levels of wear and poor longevity. The potential health risks associated with long-term exposure to metal ions (mainly cobalt and chromium) was also a matter of concern at the time. So why would surgeons use implants which had historically not done well? In my opinion, it was ignorance of the history of these devices, increased patient expectations, lack of better alternatives, and simple economics. This is not a matter of simple greed on the part of surgeons, medical device manufacturers, or hospitals--as some have argued. Rather, this is the result of a weak regulatory framework for introducing new medical devices, increasing demand for joint replacement surgery by younger patients, and a medical culture which favors new technologies/treatments/medications. There is a price to be paid for being an early adopter of new technology and, in the case, that price is likely to be staggering.

2 comments:

  1. Hello,

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