This week, Consumer Reports released a TV story that discussed the lack of warranties for artificial hips and knees, and Consumer Reports’ nationwide hospital ratings for hip and knee replacement surgery (available to subscribers of ConsumerReports.org). Our Consumers Union Safe Patient Project Director, Lisa McGiffert, was quoted as saying, “Medical device companies claim that current law provides adequate protection for patients and that their implants are dependable and safe,” said McGiffert. “If that’s the case, they should have no objection to offering warranties to back up those claims. Patients and taxpayers shouldn’t be on the hook for the cost of replacing devices when they fail.”
That’s why our campaign has been urging top hip and knee implant makers to warranty their products, so a device maker would cover the cost of a revision surgery for patients whose implants fail. A warranty would give patients a better understanding of how long their implants are expected to last, since many patients aren’t told that when they get the surgery.
This Consumer Reports story helped us spread the message that patients need warranties with their hip and knee implants. Some local news stations in Texas and Michigan picked up the story. As hip and knee replacement surgeries become more common, patients need a better understanding of all the safety factors to consider, such as what the device is made of and the infection rate of the hospital.
If you’re considering hip or knee replacement surgery, here are thirteen things to ask your surgeon before getting the surgery. And here’s a great guide from Consumer Reports on smarter hip and knee repair.