The unbearable pain of arthritis, hip fracture, ankylosing spondylitis, or bone dysplasia drives more than 300,000 Americans to seek hip replacement surgery each year. Patients with limited mobility turn to artificial hip technology after hearing promises that they can regain their full range of motion and quality of life again.
However, for every 100 hip replacements done, 18 revision surgeries will become necessary within 10 years. These secondary revision surgeries take longer to perform and come with greater risks. While hip replacement prosthetics and procedures have improved over the years, it’s no walk in the park if you’re one of the patients who happens to encounter post-surgical complications.
Consequences of Hip Replacement Surgery
The most common complications of hip replacement surgery include:
- Loosening– When new hip joint components loosen and shift, it can cause pain, popping sounds, and a feeling like the joint is locking up or “giving out.” Younger men tend to experience this complication most often, but a number of women under 55 with rheumatoid arthritis are at increased risk of loosening as well. A fractured femoral head and avascular necrosis can lead to particularly bad outcomes.
- Dislocation– Hip joint components can shift completely out of place during the early postoperative period. In fact, one in 30 revision surgeries is due to recurrent dislocation. This complication is most common in patients over 80 years of age who have poor muscle tone, fractures, dysplasia, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, or intellectual impairments.
- Infection– Deep infections are responsible for at least 7.5 percent of failures. Patients with inflammatory arthritis, a history of corticosteroid treatment, chronic renal failure, and diabetes mellitus are at the highest risk for infection. Advanced age and malnutrition may also play a role.
- Metallosis– Patients who have received metal-on-metal hip implants are prone to a host of bizarre symptoms associated with blood poisoning caused by the accumulation of metal particles like cobalt, chromium, or titanium (metallosis). Sufferers have experienced allergic skin rashes, bone loss, chronic inflammation, numbness, changes in their ability to walk, renal or thyroid impairment, and increased pain. Neurological changes have led to sudden cognitive changes, including psychotic episodes, depression, and short-term memory deficits.
Some of these patients are wheelchair-bound for life as a result of their hip replacement complications.
What Causes Problems With Hip Replacements?
More than 13,000 hip replacement lawsuits are still pending in courts across the country. According to the complaints, design flaws cause the products to release metal shards into the body or loosen prematurely. Patients and their lawyers contend that manufacturers like Stryker, Zimmer, Smith & Nephew, and DePuy Orthopedics knowingly released these defective products to market out of greed, failing to warn of the risks and contraindications.
What Can You Do If Your Hip Replacement Has Failed?
Manufacturers owe a legal responsibility to thoroughly test their products for safety, warn doctors and patients of any known risks, and market their devices ethically. When they fail to do so, they can be sued in civil court. If your hip replacement has failed, you may be able to pursue compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and an estimated amount of pain and suffering through a hip replacement lawsuit.
A free consultation with Showard Law Firm can help you explore your full set of legal rights so you can confidently take the next step.