We repair joints with PRP Stem Cell Therapy, helping some patients avoid knee, hip or shoulder replacement. However, some people seem to do well with joint replacement, and I may even recommend joint replacement on occasion. Nothing in medicine is absolute, and it is generally best that we take an open, balanced position. However, people’s knowledge is not balanced. Many folks have an innate concern or even aversion to joint replacement, but don’t know enough about the nature of the risks. Therefore, I’ll give a try in this and the next newsletter to organize some reasonable concerns associated with having a joint replaced.
A New York Times article on 1/13/18 was entitled Can Your Hip Replacement Kill You?. It told grizzly tales. Read ’em for yourself. The article quotes FDA hip and knee replacement hardware recall documents as establishing “a reasonable probability” that thousands of such recalled devices will “cause serious adverse health consequences or death.” Sure, the number of deaths is small compared to the total number of replacements, but the risk is there, together with the many other grizzly outcomes.
Not that successful overall
Ross Hauser, MD, at Caring Medical in Chicago and Florida, does work similar to what we do at New Mexico Pain Management. He recently wrote a great updated article that cited research about how joint replacements are not actually as successful as you might think. Read his full, longer article by clicking here. Below I’ve printed some random excerpts from the various studies Dr. Hauser discussed in greater detail:
“37% operations supported by a significant disorder on magnetic resonance imaging were unjustified.”
“more than one third of total knee replacements in the United States were the ‘inappropriate’ treatment.”
“Orthopedist surgeons routinely tell patients of the great success of the procedure. Yet, it was not until doctors started to perform outcome questionnaire studies that the medical community started to realize what patients had already. Knee replacement is not as successful as everyone thinks.”
“Postoperative pain, which has been attributed to poor outcomes after knee replacement, remains problematic for many patients.” This study then lists many causes, in and outside of the knee, even far away from the knee, for the failure of the knee replacement to eliminate the knee pain of the patient. Read Dr. Hauser’s article for more details.
“Patients say, compared with preoperative health problems, post knee replacement health problems were a bigger problem than anticipated.”
“Our systematic review highlights a lack of evidence about the effectiveness of prediction and management strategies for chronic post-surgical pain after total knee replacement. As a large number of people are affected by chronic pain after total knee replacement, development of an evidence base about care for these patients should be a research priority.”
“In the end there is no way currently to predict who will get benefit and who will get worse from knee replacement surgery and patients should be counseled that there is no guarantee that knee replacement will work for them.”
Dr. Hauser’s article goes into much more detail, talking about negative side effects of neuropathic pain, infection, loosening of parts, fracture around the implant, stiffening, and the rare need for amputation. If you have been told you need knee or hip replacement, you owe it to yourself to carefully study his entire longer article.
Well, that is more than I usually choose to put into one newsletter, so I’ll stop here and continue with this topic in the next newsletter.
Now, to take your mind off of all this heavy information, listen to some nice music from our office music soundtrack, spend some time getting lost in some of my photographs, and then get on with your day.
Dr. Jonas Skardis
Winter’s Last Goodbye, by Doug Hammer & Amethyste
The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Pat Metheny and Charlie Hayden