As our population ages, up to 12 people in 1000 will need a joint replacement at some point in their life. Device research helps us to be sure those new joints don’t wear out or fail.
Devices are designed, built and tested in a lab, and then moved on to animal testing. Some companies choose to go the extra step of doing human testing, though this is not required. Device testing in humans is important to make sure the implant lasts, there are no issues with the materials, and that it reduces the patient’s pain.
This research is different from other studies because it involves manufactured devices made of metals and plastics that are put into our bodies. Surgery is involved for the patients who participate, along with three to ten years of follow-up appointments.
By doing this type of research and following the patient’s symptoms over a number of years, we hope to prevent implant failures.
Putting the research to work
Study results show which implants have less complications like infection, blood clots, and wound issues, and help patients experience less pain and improve their function.
The patient benefits too. If the implant works, a second or third revision surgery isn’t necessary, saving money for the patient, insurance companies, Medicare/Medicaid, and the hospital.