Joint Replacement Surgery:

What You Need to Know about Joint Replacement Surgery

By Dr. Ben Kim

Since 1997, I've evaluated and worked with about two dozen people who have had knee or hip replacement surgeries. A few have reported having better quality of life following joint replacement surgery, while the majority have reported experiencing more difficulties than they did before having surgery.

If you have a severely deteriorated joint that prevents or significantly hinders basic activities of daily living, I think that joint replacement surgery is an option worth considering. But I think it's critical to do two things before undergoing surgery:

  1. Do everything possible with your dietary and lifestyle choices to reduce strain on the deteriorated joint(s), namely:

    • If overweight, strive to get lean for your structure.

    • Follow a predominately plant-based diet that is rich in healthy fats and low in animal protein.

  2. If you cannot improve your situation within a reasonable amount of time by working on your dietary and lifestyle choices, be sure to get a second opinion before opting for surgery, and check to see if the orthopedic surgeons that you consult with have financial ties to companies that manufacture artificial joints.

Checking for financial ties between orthopedic surgeons and joint makers is important, as history tells us that the highest profit margin - not the model that best suits each patient's needs - is what determines the choices that some orthopedic surgeons make for their patients.

In 2007, a United States Department of Justice investigation revealed that many orthopedic surgeons received substantial "consulting fees" for using the paying company's artificial joint products. Five of the top artificial joint makers in the United States were charged with criminal conspiracy to violate anti-kickback laws.

The companies involved escaped criminal prosecution by agreeing to a settlement that called for 18 months of federal monitoring. Zimmer Corporation, DePuy Orthopaedics (a division of Johnson & Johnson), Smith & Nephew, and Biomet Orthopedics agreed to pay $311 million in fines. Stryker Orthopedics avoided a fine by being the first company to cooperate in the Justice Department's investigation.

So how do you check for financial ties between the surgeons you visit and the joint makers mentioned above? By visiting the joint makers' Web sites, where, as a part of the settlement, they provide lists of their consultants' names and how much their consultants have been paid. The companies are required to keep these lists published on their Web sites until March of 2009.

Look for the section on "Compliance," or "Company Consultants - Identifications and Payments" at the following sites:

Zimmer Corporation - Click on "Company Consultants - Identifications and Payments at the top of the site.

Smith and Nephew - Look for the section on "Compliance" at the lower right section of the site.

DePuy Orthopaedics - Click on "DePuy Orthopaedics" to get to another site that has a section on "Company Consultants."

Biomet Disclosure Page

Stryker Consultants Page

Robin Young, publisher of Orthopedics This Week, had this to say about the settlement between these companies and the Justice Department:

"The dollar figures were a little higher than expected, but this is being viewed as a speeding ticket for these companies."

Mr. Young went on to say that the government might now turn its attention to smaller companies that manufacture artificial joints, as the smaller companies typically have extensive financial relationships with their doctor customers.

Again, if you have a severely deteriorated knee or hip joint, and you don't feel hopeful about improving your situation with your diet and lifestyle, I believe that it is worth your while to consider joint replacement surgery. By doing some research using the Web sites referenced above, you should be able to find an orthopedic surgeon who will help pick the best artificial joint device for your situation.

Please share this article with family members and friends who may be considering joint replacement surgery. Thank you.

Dr. Ben KimImprove Your Health With Our Free E-mail Newsletter

Join thousands of people from all over the world who receive our natural health newsletter.

  • 100% free. You can unsubscribe anytime.
  • No spam. We respect and protect your privacy at all times.
  • Valuable information that you can use to improve the quality of your health and life.
First Name:


Just a note to let you know how much I appreciate your newsletter. As a fellow health care provider (optometrist) and medical researcher, I find your distillation of the literature into lay terms to be accurate and very understandable. I really enjoyed your contribution regarding macular degeneration. Keep up the good work. - Kristine Erickson, OD, PhD, FAAO

I get a lot of e-mailed newsletters and yours is the only one I read thoroughly from top to bottom. Your advice is enlightening, educational, easy to follow and it works! Thank you so much for all that you offer. - Lisa Abramovic

Thanks for your excellent health newsletter. I look forward to it every week. Thanks for providing the best online health resource I have found. - Moorea Maguire

I'm sure as a doctor you hear your share of complaints. I just thought you'd like to know that there's at least one person in your "e-audience" that appreciates the time and effort you put into sending the emails. I really look forward to them. - Linda H., Raleigh, North Carolina

Many of my adult ESL students are Korean, and enjoy bits and pieces from your newsletter that I have shared with them. In addition to your logical approach to health, I enjoy sharing your newsletter because your English is unfailingly correct as well as easily understood. Thank you for your beautiful approach to life. - J. Zetterstrom

I thank you and your staff for such a great website. I am former National Level Bodybuilder so I know a thing or two about health and fitness. Your site is very valuable and I do my best to pass it on to friends and people I train. It is also a helpful resource in my career as a human service provider working with clients who need to recover from substance abuse. I believe a major part of recovery is getting your body and mind feeling healthy and strong. Thank you again! Great Website! - Michael Christopher, MSW

I truly appreciate your wonderful newsletter - your balanced and professional way of looking at issues is so helpful! - Erica H.

First Name:

Disclaimer: Throughout this website, statements are made pertaining to the properties and/or functions of food and/or nutritional products. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and these materials and products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.