The Legal, Ethical, and Scientific Considerations for Returning Explanted Orthopaedic Hardware to the Patient

Natalie R. Black, William Winslade, Ronald W. Lindsey, Zbigniew Gugala

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Orthopaedic hardware explantation is a multifaceted topic with complex legal, ethical, and scientific aspects that require thorough exploration. Issues of device ownership, explant-induced disease propagation, and potential device resale pose legal risks to providers and health-care institutions. Ethically, implant removal highlights the potential that performing procedures at the request of the patient will incentivize patient compliance and strengthen the patient-surgeon relationship. However, the return of explanted hardware to patients could hinder scientific study and innovation, ultimately limiting advancement in risk reduction and patient outcomes. Continued research into these topics remains paramount to ensure that clinicians and institutions deliver optimal patient care while abiding with legal and ethical imperatives. This article addresses the legal, ethical, and scientific issues that are pertinent to returning an explanted orthopaedic implant to the patient and the potential ramifications of such practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E37
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery
Volume104
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - May 4 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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