A June 21, 2013, article argues that between 10 to 20% of knee replacement surgeries done in the US are unnecessary. The conclusions are based on their own review of studies generated by both government and academic sources. Included in the six common surgeries often done unnecessarily were Knee and Hip replacement. “In a 2012 study in Health Affairs, researchers provided patients in a Washington state health system with ‘decision aids’ that included information on joint replacement s and alternative treatments. The researchers found that patients who got the information had 26% fewer hip replacements and 38% fewer knee replacements.”
Behind that which leads to thousands of unnecessary surgeries are “the predators who enrich themselves by bilking insurers for operations that aren’t medically justified. Even more turn to doctors who simply lack the competence or training to recognize when a surgical procedure can be avoided, either because the medical facts don’t warrant it or because there are non-surgical treatments that would better serve the patient.”
Are you considering knee or hip replacement surgery?
Is this Blog written to cause you, the patient, to pause before undergoing a knee or hip replacement? You bet it is. Health care can make you sick. My advice for patients considering a joint replacement, come in for a second opinion. “But Dr Sheinkop, Regenerative Medical procedures are not yet covered by insurance or Medicare; I would have to pay out of pocket. “ “The costs of unnecessary surgeries touch consumers and taxpayers in ways most never imagine. Medicare, Medicaid and their private insurance counterparts spend billions of dollars on operations that shouldn’t be done, draining health care dollars that could go for better use. “ The USA Today article doesn’t even consider the personal economic and psychological impact of adverse outcomes and complications from total hip and total knee replacements.
Let’s assume you been told that you have an osteoarthritic joint and that is the reason behind the pain, altered motion and your limited functional capacity. The first tier of care should be weight reduction and physical therapy. Is there a place for Non Steroidal Anti-inflammatories? Last Thursday, I went in for a physical checkup and my internist spent a significant portion of the 90 minutes on the potential and real damages occurring in the heart and kidney from long-term “arthritis meds” that he is seeing in his practice. Therein is the indication for the first step in the world of Regenerative Medicine, Viscosupplementation, and the latter is covered by third parties, affective in 70% of cases and burns no bridges. If the patient doesn’t respond as anticipated, the next step is Platelet Rich Plasma; finally, Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate. While the last two are not covered by third party payers, the new world of Regenerative Medicine and Cellular Orthopedics is a lot less costly than an unnecessary or failed joint replacement.