Docplexus Survey Series – #2: Indian Doctors’ Opinions on Removal of Orthopedic Implants

Our latest survey delves into Indian doctors’ mindsets about the removal of orthopedic implants – one of the much-deliberated, yet, the most commonly performed surgical procedures. There is ambiguity around the proven benefits of elective hardware removal. Concerns abound over complications that may occur during surgery or post-removal. Other considerations like socio-economic impact also play a role in the implant removal decision.

Through this survey, Docplexus attempts to reveal what doctors feel about orthopedic implant removal, the chief indications for removal and the associated risks.

Survey Details

Aim – To understand the latest trends related to removal of orthopedic implants.

Survey Methodology – A pan-India online poll was administered to get a good randomized sample distribution across age and demographics.

Sample Size – We selected 175 clinicians, out of which 112 completed the survey.  A majority of the participants were Orthopedicians and General Surgeons.

Survey Results

Orthopedics implants-01

Although more than half of the respondents did not think it necessary to remove implants, a whopping 90% of all implants get removed within the first two years of surgery itself! This leads us to the question, what exactly drives the removal?

Contrary to the popular belief amongst patients, their demand is the least important of all indications for removing implants. Palpability of the material or the irritation caused by it were the biggest drivers, followed by pain at the site and limited range of motion. In the event of breakage of the hardware or an allergic disposition, doctors have no choice but to opt for removal. However, a majority (about 95 clinicians) agreed that implant removal burdens the hospitals’ resources, while close to half felt that removal bore more risks than leaving the implant in-situ. In fact, 46% opined that removal results in additional soft tissue damage.

Thus, it is obvious that in India, the decision of implant removal is taken after much deliberation, based on a comprehensive analysis of various factors. Doctors do not favor the procedure unless absolutely necessary. Moreover, an overwhelming majority feels that it stresses the hospital resources.

Next Week’s Survey Topic – Assessing the Risks of Different Cardiovascular Diseases


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