Warranties for implants? They can be defective products, too

When Florida residents buy an expensive item – such as a high-end electronic device or an automobile – they often purchase a warranty to cover any costs that might occur in the event of a defect or malfunction. Many people, however, don’t think to ask their doctor if their hip or knee implant includes a warranty – but should they?

With the demand for implants growing rapidly – the number is expected to reach four million a year by 2030 – and the average patient undergoing implant surgery under age 65, patients require implants that can last two or three decades. Will manufacturers be able to create implants that last that long? If not, are they willing to provide a warranty?

A warranty is a win-win situation. Patients can relax knowing that they won’t have to worry about their implant for a minimum number of years. In addition, when manufacturers have to stand by a warranty, they are more likely to create durable devices instead of defective products.

Product recalls are common in the implant industry. In fact, 8 percent of knee replacements and 18 percent of hip replacements are performed to replace a previous implant. Every major manufacturer has recalled at least one product. Johnson & Johnson’s metal-on-metal hip implant was the most concerning. More than 10 percent failed within five years, with many patients also suffering from cardiac and neurological problems. When implants are deemed defective, the results are higher costs and longer hospital stays for the patient.

Currently, the Food and Drug Administration does not review implants for safety. However, that might change in the coming years, with implants becoming more in demand. If you or a loved one suffered problems from a hip or knee implant or feel you may have a defective implant, there are legal options available. A legal professional can help you determine whether or not to file a products liability claim.

Consumer Reports, “Your new hip or knee implant should come with a warranty” No author given, Sep. 20, 2013