Diseases of the joints in Germany

Are too many operations being performed in Germany?

© maska82 / [Fotolia.de]






More and more responsibly minded specialists are speaking up. The spinal column specialist Dr. Martin Marianowicz from Munich for example. In an interview with the regional newspaper, the Hannoverschen Allgemeinen Zeitung, from 12th Sep. 2010 he says: “The everyday reality is really shocking. 300,000 backs are operated on in Germany every year, that’s three times as many as in England in terms of the total population, twice as many as in France.” He continues: “40 — 45% of the (spinal) operations don’t produce the desired outcome. That’s why we need to do some rethinking.” (HAZ, 06.01.2010)1 

Looking at other joints, we find a similar situation. The following figures give an insight into a health system that is getting out of control and urgently needs to be radically reformed:

Some interesting statistics

  • 70 million insured in Germany
  • 7 million suffer from a manifest arthrosis
  • 40,000,000 (40 million!) visits per year to the doctor’s because of arthrosis
  • 175,000 knee joint operations (up by 52% since 2003!)
  • 25% cases of early retirement are due to arthroses
  • 50,000,000 (50 million!) days of absence owing to unfitness for work caused by arthrosis
  • 40 million people are known to have arthrosis joints:
    • 60% spinal column
    • 27% knee
    •  7 % hip
    •  4 % ankle
    •  2 % big toe
    •  1 % finger

Changes in joints owing to arthroses

  • 50 % of those aged 50 and above, every 4th German
  • 80 % of the over-75s


Cost comparison

Endoprosthetics compared with gold implantations

  Endoprosthetic Gold implantation

12 — 15 (20) years

in dogs a whole lifetime
rehabilitation measures

40 % of all rehabilitation measures

none necessary


10 — 30 %
500,000 p.a.
none known
none known

3.5 billion Euros p.a.
ca. 10,000 Euros per joint replacement incl. rehabilitation;
follow-up operations not included

a fraction of the cost of endoprothetics, depending on the number of treated joints;
no rehabiliation costs
Post-operation treatment

1 — 2 weeks in hospital
3 weeks Reha
4 weeks walking aids
10 — 12 weeks

not necessary;
just 1 — 2 days unfit for work (approx.)


















Cost savings

Since the ways in which humans and animals function have much in common, it is absolutely feasible to compare them. Far more than 50% of pet owners only take their animals to the vet, when serious damage has already arisen. Even in such cases as these gold implantations are also able to bring about sudden and beneficial changes in the way the animals walk. Since all arthrosis joints, not only hips and knees, can be treated using gold implants, one can assume that where humans are concerned the cost-savings would amount to billions!


Joint replacement (endoprosthetics) in comparison to gold implantation

The following also needs to be considered:

   Endoprosthetics  Gold implantation
fatalities 1,000 — 4,000 people die annually from a gastrostaxis or internal bleeding in the stomach, caused by treatment with pain killers (non-steroidal antirheumatic drugs). Gold implantations could render this medicine superfluous or reduce the dosage.  none
Borderline cases:
young people,
early stages of desease
Today an increasing number of young people are being given artificial joints that last 10 — 15. Today an increasing number of young people are being given artificial joints that last interim solution
 difficult cases Overweight is often a cause of joint problems and at the same time it is one of the main factors that endanger the success of joint replacements. Losing weight before the joint operation could reduce the resulting costs. Patients are urged to lose weight




As you can see in the table, using gold implantations leads neither to additional resulting costs nor to the side effects that many fear.

Implanting gold has been out of the experimental stage for decades. Its success — in this country above all on dogs and horses, in Denmark for example on humans too — is so overwhelming that there is no reason not to approve in Germany for humans.

So clinical trials are urgently required.

1 http://gesund-magazin.de/artikel/wirbelsaeule-operationen-ueberfluessig-interview-marianowicz