Tracking Implant Failures

Two registries are being implemented in the United States to track the success and failure rates of hip and knee replacements. One is organized by the orthopedic industry and the other funded by the federal government. Similar databases are already in place in Australia and Sweden and will serve as models for the American project.

The development of these registries was inspired by the major recall of hip replacements last year by Johnson and Johnson’s Depuy Orthopedics. The recall affected some 93,000 hip replacement patients worldwide, and generated at least 1000 lawsuits to date.

“We’ve been doing a huge experiment and no one’s been keeping track of the data,” said William Maloney, vice chairman of the American Joint Replacement Registry and professor of orthopedic surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine. (Bloomberg)

By collecting data on the some 700,000 hip and knee replacement surgeries that take place in the U.S. each year, medical professionals will able to monitor which implants fail prematurely, requiring revision surgery, and ultimately reduce the number of patients who would receive faulty implants. Data collection started last December as part of a pilot program involving 16 hospitals. The nationwide data collection system will launch later this year.

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