As our population ages, we are going to see more and more surgeries to replace bad joints such as the hips, knees, shoulders, and other body parts. A key question becomes how does someone know if the new product is going to work or cause further trouble? Of course, there are no guarantees and when making a decision, there are not always answers. However, here are some crucial questions that you must ask your surgeon before embarking on this course of action:
- How many of these surgeries have you done, Doctor?
- How many times have you used this particular product? Of those times, how many complications have you had and what specifically are the major and minor problems you have seen during recovery and over time? What are the known risks?
- What is the product’s history? How long has it been in effect? How long has it been marketed? What company is making this product? What is their history of safety and recalls?
- What would be a better or different alternative product that you are considering or that I should consider? [New is not always better.]
- Do you have any financial relationship, Doctor, with this manufacturer?
- Can I speak with a patient who has had this product in them for quite some time? Or have them call me?
- What kind of follow up, doctor wise and blood work up wise, will this implant require?
Of course, you should do your own world and detailed wide research on the product, its safety, and whether there are recalls or similar products with better or worse problems. It makes sense also to talk with a physical therapist or two and ask them their experiences with patients who have had the product and their recoveries.
Taking these actions will reduce your risks and hopefully allow you to embark on a safe journey to a speedy recovery.