Knee Revision Surgeries On the Rise - Nov 12, 2012

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Written by Administrator
Monday, 12 November 2012 00:00

If you are clueless about knee revision surgery, consider yourself lucky. It probably means you aren't a member of the worn-out knees club. While I personally have been fortunate enough to retain the use of my own two knees, as a medical malpractice attorney, it's my job to stay abreast of health care issues and trends, and total knee replacement, or TKR, is definitely one to keep an eye on. It's amazing how commonplace this procedure has become.

Every year, about half a million people undergo total knee replacement. It's considered a safe procedure and, for most people, it gives them back their mobility and a chance to enjoy life again. But in about 3% of the cases, patients will experience what is known as prosthesis failure in the first five years.

There are a number of reasons why this happens. It can be due to infection, poor fit, loosening of the device, poor surgical technique, mechanical overload and even Osteolysis. When dealing with prothesis failure, the most important thing you can do is have an expert identify why it happened so that your revision surgery has a better chance of success.

Faulty devices are rare, but if your prothesis is one of the few that made it to market, only later to be shown that it was poorly designed or had defects due to the materials used or the manufacturing process, you could be facing a second surgery.

If you are in despair at the thought of going through another surgery, it may help to know that you are not alone in this situation. According to a study published by the National Institute of Health, the number of revision procedures “is expected to increase from 37,544 in 2005 to 56,918 by 2030.

Additionally, the study concluded, projected hospital costs for these procedures could exceed 2 billion dollars by then, as the number of revision knee surgeries is expected “to increase by 66% in the next 25 years.” Furthermore, “reimbursement rates will not cover hospital costs for this procedure despite recent increases in Medicare payments for revision arthroplasty.”

Wait a minute. Back up. So, every knee revision surgery covered under Medicare is a money loser for hospitals? According to a study funded by the NIH, yes.

That is not a comforting thought.

What can you do about it? Well, for starters, you can understand that things sometimes go wrong with this procedure. Just be prepared. If you have any concerns after the operation, discuss them immediately with your surgeon. In cases where a faulty device is suspected, a responsible physician will contact the manufacturer and the FDA so an investigation can begin. Your physician should also be willing to spend extra time and staff resources for clinical monitoring during this difficult time.

If you find your surgeon is unresponsive to your needs, find another surgeon right away—someone who specializes in diagnosing knee replacement problems. When it comes to verifying a diagnosis of infection in knee replacement therapy, time is of the essence. Regardless of the cause of the prosthesis failure, getting a correct assessment of the problem has to be your number-one priority. The sooner you discover why your knee replacement failed, the sooner you will be back on the path to recovery.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 03 January 2013 13:59 )