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Hip Implant Surgery and Potential Lawsuits 

Hip replacement surgery, also called total hip arthroplasty, involves removing a diseased or broken hip joint and replacing it with an artificial joint, called a prosthesis. Hip prostheses commonly consist 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 or should be biocompatible (meaning they're designed to be accepted by your body) and made to resist corrosion, degradation and wear.

As a total hip joint replacement replaces the ends of both bones in a damaged hip joint to create new joint surfaces and a total hip replacement surgery replaces the upper end of the thighbone (femur) with a metal ball and resurfaces the hip socket in the pelvic bone with a metal shell and plastic liner, it is essential that the hip implants are biocompatible and are correctly made to resist corrosion, degradation, and wear as well as to work well without rubbing.

There are currently four device options for total hip replacement in the United States. These are:

  • Metal-on-Polyethylene: The ball is made of metal and the socket is made of plastic (polyethylene) or has a plastic lining.
  • Ceramic-on-Polyethylene: The ball is made of ceramic and the socket is made of plastic (polyethylene) or has a plastic lining.
  • Metal-on-Metal: The ball and socket are both made of metal.
  • Ceramic-on-Ceramic: The ball is made of ceramic and the socket has a ceramic lining.

 

The FDA's Concerns about Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant Systems

All artificial hip replacement systems have risks related to implant or material wear. Metal-on-metal hip (MoM) replacement systems have unique risks in addition to the general risks of all hip implant systems.

 

Because the metal ball and the metal cup slide against each other during walking or running, some tiny metal particles may wear off of the device and enter into the space around the implant. Some of the metal ions from the metal implant or from the metal particles may even get into the bloodstream.

Orthopaedic surgeons take several precautions before and during the implantation surgery to try to optimize the way in which the ball and socket rub against each other so that fewer wear particles are produced. However, there is no way to fully avoid the production of metal particles.

Different people will react to these metal particles in different ways. At this time, it is not possible to know who will experience a reaction, what type of reaction they might have, when the reaction will occur, or how severe the reaction will be. However, it is known that over time, the metal particles around some implants can cause damage to bone and/or tissue surrounding the implant and joint. This is sometimes referred to as an “adverse local tissue reaction (ALTR)” or an “adverse reaction to metal debris (ARMD).” Such a reaction may cause the implant to become loose or cause pain. Ultimately this can require a revision surgery where the old device is removed and replaced with another one.

In addition to these reactions to metal near the joint and implant, there are some case reports in the literature of a small number of patients in which high levels of metal ions in the bloodstream may have caused other types of symptoms or illnesses elsewhere in the body, including effects on the heart, nervous system, and thyroid gland.

Patients who have MoM hip implants should be aware of potential symptoms which may occur after surgery and indicate that their device is not functioning properly. Common symptoms may include:

  • Pain in the groin, hip or leg
  • Swelling at or near the hip joint
  • A limp or change in walking ability

There are many reasons why any of these symptoms may arise or worsen after surgery and it does not necessarily mean that a reaction to the metal particles from the device is taking place. A thorough evaluation by an orthopaedic surgeon is needed to determine the actual cause. Besides a physical exam of the hip, the orthopaedic surgeon may consider several tests to evaluate these symptoms including:

  • Special imaging tests
  • Using a needle to remove fluid from around the joint (joint aspiration)
  • Blood tests, including checking levels of metal ions in the blood

Patients who receive a MoM hip implant should also pay close attention to changes in their general health or new symptoms outside their hip including symptoms related to their:

  • Heart (chest pain, shortness of breath)
  • Nerves (numbness, weakness, change in vision or hearing)
  • Thyroid (fatigue, feeling cold, weight gain)
  • Kidney (change in urination habits)

Other Defective hip Implants

Failed hip implant surgery including defective hip implants have been becoming more and more common.   Some hip implant medical devices that have been the subject of failed hip surgery lawsuits, recalls, or FDA actions include the Zimmer Durom Cup, the Stryker Corp. Trident Hemispherical and Trident PSL cups, DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing Systems, and Depuy ASR XL Acetabular Systems.  Through failed hip replacement lawsuits many patients are alleging that defective hip implants including defective Zimmer Cups, Trident Hemispherical and PSL Cups, or DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. ASR Hip Resurfacing System and the ASR XL Acetabular Systems have caused them pain, suffering, impairment, and the need for additional hip replacement surgeries.

The Zimmer Durom Cup has been implanted into over 12,000 people and is primarily used in Total Hip Replacement surgeries.  In July 2008 sales of the Zimmer Durom Cup were suspended by Zimmer, after reports that the cup was defective and failed to bond in many patients.  This failure to bond caused these patients to have to undergo painful revision hip surgeries.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has warned the Stryker Corporation about the Trident Hemispherical and Trident PSL cups that have "failed to function" as well as about hip implant components with "poor fixation"  These cup or failed implant have also required painful revision hip surgeries. The latest warning letter released by the FDA indicated that the Stryker Corporation received multiple complaints from 2005 through 2007 involving devices that failed to work and hip implant components that had bad fixation. Some hip implant failures have required that hip implant patients undergo a follow up surgery to fix the problem with the first hip implant surgery.  These problems in addition to the failure to function and poor fixation include the issue of terrible squeaking noises coming from the hip implant. 

The FDA has alsowarned manufacturers of hip implants that the recurrence of squeaking noises of hip implants with ceramic bearing components have resulted in revision surgeries due to implant failures (fractures, pain, wear particles, and fragments) and many patients have and are expected to experience problems including Hip Pain and may require additional hip implant surgery to repair the defective hip implant devices.

In August, 2010, DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. announced that it would be recalling two hip replacement products, the ASR Hip Resurfacing System and the ASR XL Acetabular System, after receiving new data which indicated that more patients than expected experienced pain and other symptoms which required a revision surgery following the initial hip replacement procedure.  The patients with DePuy ASR and ASR XL metal-on-metal hip implants have experienced loosening and dislocation of the device resulting in the need for early revision surgery and/or the release of metal debris causing muscle and soft tissue damage.  For more information on Depuy hip replacement failures click here

Patients with Serious Hip Injuries when Seeking Pain Relief can sometimes Fall Victim to Defective Products, Negligent Health Care, and "For Profit" Medical Professionals 

Unfortunately, there are medical clinics, medical implant sales people, and doctors that are more interested in profit and their bottom line than what is best for a patient.  Some of these medical professionals carelessly cause painful and difficult conditions to become much worse by pushing defective medical devices or pushing surgeries when other less drastic medical options are available. 

As such, it is usually best to get a second or third opinion prior to agreeing to have a hip surgery operation as well as to make sure that you trust your medical providers and are sure that they are working in your best interest. 

Defective Hip Implant Devices Lead to Suffering Pain, Impairment, and Mental Anguish as well as having to have Second Hip Replacement Surgery to Repair the Problem

Revision Surgery: one of the most serious and prolonged injuries resulting from DePuy defective hip replacement systems, is the need for surgical extraction of the faulty ASR Hip Implant Device and often replacement with another defect-free Hip Replacement System of proper design by other orthopedic device manufacturer. The Hip replacement by its very nature of necessity is often surgically performed in middle-aged and elderly population. And recovery from the second hip replacement is often more difficult than after the first. A second surgery of this nature could and often does increase the risk of complications, severe infections, prolonged recovery time, and death. In some patients the infection resulting from defective ASR system, is so advanced and systemic that a revision surgery is not possible. In this group of patients the only option is a surgical extraction of defected device without any corrective hip replacement to restore the lost mobility function patients experienced in first place.

After a person has gone through an extensive hip surgery including the lengthy recovery and process, it can be very upsetting to learn that the manufacturer incorrectly made the implant so that it will have to removed and the person will have to undergo the hip replacement surgery again requiring more recovery, missed time from work, and missed time from family and normal functioning.

Regardless, as to whether the failed hip replacement surgery is caused by  a defective Zimmer Cup, defective Trident Hemispherical Cup, defective Trident PSL Cup, defective DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. ASR Hip Resurfacing System, defective DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System, and/or medical negligence, it is important to understand the cause of a failed hip replacement surgery.

If you or a family member have been the victim of a failed hip replacement surgery including a defective hip replacement cup implant or hip replacement system, please feel free to use the submit an inquiry or click here to send an e-mail with any questions about a failed hip replacement surgery and defective hip implant lawsuit.

 


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