One-third of knee replacements in the U.S. may be inappropriate (OUCH!!)

A Reuters report by Will Boggs had the headline above. (Parentheses are mine.) By today’s surgery standards this should come as a surprise to no one.

“Judging by the symptoms of people with knee arthritis, one-third of knee replacement surgeries may be inappropriate, according to a new study.”  The lead author of that study, Daniel L. Riddle from Virginia Commonwealth University, said ‘ “We found that some patients undergo total knee replacement when they have very low grade symptoms or minor knee arthritis…” ‘

That is the point I’ve been making all along. The ethics around surgery in the US are declining rapidly.  EdisonHealth surgeons at places like Mercy in Springfield, MO, and Virginia Mason, don’t do unnecessary and potentially harmful knee surgery.

It’s time for HR and benefit mangers to wake up. Bad surgeons will get worse and worse until you take their patients away.


Tom Emerick

Cracking Health Costs, the book, an Amazon best seller, is available on Amazon at a deeply discounted price.  Click here:  Cracking Health Costs: How to Cut Your Company’s Health Costs and Provide Employees Better Care by Tom Emerick and Al Lewis.

Tom Emerick is the President of Emerick Consulting and co-founder of Edison Health. In December 2012, Tom was listed in as one of 13 unsung heroes changing healthcare forever. In 2009, Tom was named by Healthspottr as one of the top 100 innovators in healthcare in the US for his work on medical ethics. Prior to consulting, Tom spent a number of years working for large corporations: Walmart Stores, Burger King, and British Petroleum.




  1. Aaron Davis says:

    This goes to the point of over-diagnosis, over-treatment and over-prescribing as problems truly plaguing our healthcare system.

    Thank you for sharing these facts, insights and opinions Tom – I really appreciate them.

  2. Tom Emerick says:

    thanks for posting a comment Aaron.


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