Knee Replacement Caution

Millions of Americans are currently living with hip and knee replacements. While replacement surgery can be a good option, it’s not without risk. There can be serious complications. Consumer Reports has advice to help you improve the odds of a successful outcome.

Consumer Reports took a close look at hundreds of hospitals to see how well patients did following replacement surgery in California. It looked at infection rates, complication rates, and readmission rates, and found it really matters which hospital you go to.

For example, Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica rated well, 68 percent better than the national average for knee infections.

Thirty-five miles away, Los Alamitos Medical Center was one of the hospitals that got Consumer Reports’ bottom rating, 122 percent worse than the national average.
The hospital responded that there had been recent improvements, saying: “In November 2015, we opened a new Orthopedic Destination Center and strengthened our infection prevention protocols.”

Consumer Reports says that you can increase your chances of a successful surgery by making sure you get a good surgeon. First you want to make sure your doctor is board-certified in orthopedic surgery. And then ask whether his or her hospital tracks outcomes like infections and readmissions, and whether they track long-term patient outcomes.

Consumer Reports is advocating to get hospitals to make more safety data available so you can make a good decision. And Consumer Reports has more advice on treating knee pain as well as hip pain.

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