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New Ankle Implant

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New Ankle Implant

Our Review Summary

You could fill a day’s worth of programming with "Health Minutes" about new devices.  Viewers need evidence about harms, benefits, comparative effectiveness.  This "minute" didn’t deliver any of that – only one glowing personal anecdote. The plural of anecdote is not data.

 

Why This Matters

A story on this topic could have touched on how many artificial ankle implants there are on the market or in development.  How does the FDA evaluate all of the claims?  And how is a patient to be guided in his/her decision-making? 

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

No discussion of costs – a big issue with these pricey devices.

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Not Satisfactory

No data.  No study results.  Just one personal anecdote.

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

No discussion of the potential harms of the surgical implantation – or of the failure rate of the device.

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?

Not Satisfactory

One personal anecdote is all the evidence we got.  The plural of anecdote is not data.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Not Applicable

Not applicable – largely because in a minute, there wasn’t much time devoted to giving any background on ankle arthritis.

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?

Not Satisfactory

No independent sources were interviewed – just one true believer surgeon who uses the device in question.  No disclosure of whether he has financial ties to the device manufacturer.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

Again, no meaningful comparison with the other ankle implant/artificial ankle joint devices either on the market  or in development.

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Not Satisfactory

We learn nothing about availability – not even if the device is FDA-approved.  Is it experimental?  Is it on the market?  We weren’t told.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Not Satisfactory

The story says, "unlike most ankle surgery that fuses bone-to-bone causing the joint to be rigid, this implant gives full movement to the ankle joint with less pain."  But we’re not given any meaningful comparison with the different devices on the market or in testing in order to show how/if this device in question is  truly novel.

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?

Not Applicable

Not applicable because we can’t be sure what the story was based on.

Total Score: 0 of 8 Satisfactory

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