Total joint replacement offers patients with end-stage degenerative joint
disease a solution to disabling joint pain that results in a marked
improvement in quality of life. As with all mechanical devices, failure can
and will occur. The survival of the implant is multifactorial. Patient-related
factors, surgical technique, and implant design as well as manufacturing all
play a role in failure. Despite an extensive investment in research and
development by implant manufacturers to improve implant performance,
unintended consequences of a change in design may result in premature failure.
Regardless of the amount of premarket testing done with any given device, it
is important to remember that the final testing ground is in our patients.
Only there will all of the factors noted above come into play. With that in
mind, it seems a reasonable goal to track outcomes at least at a high level to
potentially identify poorly performing designs or surgical techniques at the
earliest possible point.