Hip replacement is one of the most common orthopedic procedures in the United States. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, more than 231,000 total hip replacements are performed each year in the United States.
A total hip replacement (hip arthroplasty) is a surgical procedure where the damaged or diseased bone and cartilage is removed and replaced with prosthetic (artificial) components. The hip prosthetic consists of a ball component, made of metal or ceramic, and a socket, which has an insert or liner made of plastic, ceramic, or metal. The implants used in hip replacement are biocompatible, meaning they are designed to be accepted by your body and should resist corrosion, degradation, and wear.
People have hip replacements to decrease pain and increase mobility and their quality of life after their hip has been damaged by arthritis, a fracture, an accident, or because of age and usage. The most common cause of chronic hip pain and disability is arthritis (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis).
There Are Currently Four Device Options For Total Hip Replacement In The U.S., According To The FDA. These Include:
- Metal-on-Polyethylene that uses a metal ball and a plastic or plastic-lined socket
- Ceramic-on-Polyethylene that pairs a ceramic ball and a plastic or plastic-lined socket
- Metal-on-metal, in which both components are constructed of metal
- Ceramic-on-ceramic, pairing a ceramic ball with a ceramic-lined socket
Complications from hip implants can include reaction to anesthesia, a heart attack, infections, blood clots, leg-length inequality, dislocation, nerve and blood vessel injury, bleeding, fracture, stiffness, and reoccurring pain. Hip implants can also wear and loosen. In some cases, additional or replacement surgery is needed.
Over the last couple of years, the federal government has received a surge in complaints about failed hip replacements, suggesting that serious problems persist with some types of artificial hips, causing potentially serious health dangers. Recent recalls of popular hip replacements include the DePuy ASR Hip Replacement, the Wright Profemur Z Hip Stem Replacement, theStryker Rejuvenate, and the Stryker ABG II modular-neck stems. These problems are often due to manufacturer negligence, a rush to market, and defective replacement parts and components (metal on metal hip implants or ceramic hip implants).
Hip Replacement Failures: What Happens & What You Should Do Next
When a hip implant is defective or fails, it can cause serious complications within a person’s body. If someone who has had a hip replacement starts to experience health issues, this could mean that their metal implant is actually casting debris into the person’s body. In addition, hip implants can also corrode, which means that metal ions are then released in the person’s bloodstream. This can lead to a variety of health-related problems including difficulty walking or moving around, extreme pain, swelling, fatigue, and popping or squeaking. Not only can these issues be incapacitating, but they can also become worse as time goes on.
When a person experiences a hip replacement failure, they often have to go through another very painful and treacherous corrective surgery. This puts them on an even longer road to recovery. With each corrective surgery, a patient has to give up more bone. Eventually, there is no bone left to attach to another implant. This is why we often see patients end up with a disability for the remainder of their lives after a defective hip implant is discovered.
Hip Implant Risks
Like all medical devices and medical surgeries, there are risks associated with hip implant surgery. It is up to the surgeon to determine whether or not the risks outweigh the benefits for each patient on an individual case-by-case basis. For example, certain types of hip implants like MoM implants have actually proven to provide benefits for certain patients. However, you should always contact an experienced defective hip implant attorney if you start to experience any negative side effects from your hip replacement surgery.
One important thing to remember is that not every person will be negatively affected if they have received a metal-on-metal hip implant. However, there are many studies that have found metal-on-metal hip implants to have failed after a certain time period – usually around five years or so. This means that there is a significant chance you could be experiencing serious complications that could require corrective surgery or other treatment down the road. It is critical that you speak with both your doctor and attorney should you have any hip replacement concerns or are already experiencing negative effects from your hip implant surgery.
To determine whether you have a defective hip implant case, we will review a variety of factors that specifically pertain to your hip replacement. Some of these include:
- The type of hip implant you have
- When your hip replacement surgery took place
- The nature and extent of your injuries or pain
First thing is first – if you are experiencing any type of pain or discomfort, consult with your surgeon immediately. Here, you will be given blood tests to determine whether or not there are issues with your hip implant. If you are not experiencing any negative side effects and your blood test comes back normal, then there is most likely no need for any additional testing.
If you are in pain but it has not yet been recalled, you should still contact a qualified lawyer as soon as possible. It is very possible for lawsuits to still move forward even if a product has not yet been recalled.
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