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An opinion piece published in the March 13 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association calls hip and knee arthroplasty procedures "necessary and life changing" for many patients. 

However, the writers note that rates of such procedures are much higher in the United States than in other developed countries and point to studies that suggest some joint arthroplasty procedures may be inappropriate for the patient. "Patients often opt for elective procedures based on their high expectations of positive outcomes, undervaluing of potential harms, and lack of knowledge about alternative treatments," they write. The writers note that presurgery patient education materials may focus on procedural details and aftercare instead of informed decision making. "Educating patients about alternatives and risks can support decision making by patients and physicians," they continue. "Well-developed decision aids can delay elective procedures until they are appropriate, avoiding unnecessary and more costly revision procedures." Learn more...