Hip implants can be defectively designed and often cause serious injuries like metallosis, bone fracture, and dislocation, which often require corrective surgery. Our law firm is currently working with some of the more experienced defective hip lawyers in the country, who can file a lawsuit on your behalf and there is no legal fee until you receive a settlement or award. Feel free to call us toll free or fill out an online contact form in confidence.
Today, hip replacements are one of the most common orthopedic surgeries. According to the CDC more than 332,000 total hip surgeries are performed each year in the United States (i). There are three types of hip surgeries, total, partial, and resurfacing. In a total hip replacement, both the ball and the socket are replaced by an implant. In a partial hip replacement, only the ball is replaced. In a hip resurfacing procedure, the cup is replaced while the ball is reshaped and capped. Hip devices imitate the joint by implanting the patient with a ball that mimics the femoral head and a cup that mimics the acetabulum socket.
For years, these devices were made out of metal, plastic, and ceramic materials. However, recently manufacturers have produced an increasing number of metal-on-metal devices. This means the both the ball and cup are made of metal. The use of metal instead of plastic or ceramic was intended to create greater durability because the average age of hip replacement patients has become younger. However, these devices may fail and require multiple surgeries.
Hip Replacement Injuries
Infection: An infection can have serious consequences if it is not treated in time. If the infection is diagnosed and treated shortly after the surgery, then doctors can clean the wound and treat it with antibiotics. However, if the infection is diagnosed too late, then the device may need to be removed and re-implanted after the infection is treated.
Debris buildup: Debris is created every time an implant moves. This debris can cause adverse side effects when the human body reacts negatively to it.
Metallosis: Metal-on-plastic devices create polyethylene debris that can cause osteolysis. When this condition is present the body treats the debris as foreign and releases cells to dissolve the debris. However, these cells dissolve the bone surrounding the implant, which causes damage to the bone and eventually causes the device to fail.
Ossification: Ossification occurs when soft tissue surrounding an implant calcifies. Ossification is present in about 50% of implant patients but only about 10% experience its adverse side effects including tenderness, swelling, and decreased range of motion.
Osteonecrosis: Osteonecrosis occurs when the implant deprives the surrounding bone of blood. When bone is deprived of blood it dies and collapses causing the device to fail.
Device loosening: Occurs from normal wear and tear but is aggravated by debris buildup, ossification, and osteonecrosis.
Dislocation: About 5% of patients experience a dislocation after a first surgery and 20% after a revision surgery (ii).
FDA Approval of Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacements
All-metal hips were approved under the FDA’s 510(k) approval process. Under this process, any product that is “substantially equivalent” to a product already sold on the market is approved without any additional testing (iii). The FDA approved metal-on-metal implants because it determined that they were “substantially equivalent” to plastic and ceramic vices already on the market. Even though they look similar to plastic and ceramic versions, all-metal devices may fail at higher rates. It is estimated that more than 500,000 patients have been implanted with these devices (iv). According to Bloomberg, the FDA received almost 16,800 adverse event reports regarding these devices between 2000 and 2011. The majority of these reports were filed in 2011 when the FDA received 12,137 in just one year. The most common side effect reported was revision surgery. In fact, there were 14,131 reports of corrective surgery. There were also 8,704 complaints of pain (v).
Medical Studies Find High Failure Rates Among Metal Hip Replacements
In February 2012, the British Medical Journal published an article which reviewed the safety of all-metal hip implants. One medical study cited by the article found that the “[a]verage failure rates at seven year are 11.8% for resurfacing and 13.6% for metal-on-metal total hip replacement, although failure rates vary with the brand used. This compares with rates of 3.3%-4.9% for hip implants made of other materials.” The article also highlighted carcinogenic and genotoxic potential of the types of devices. These devices are made of materials that have raised cancer concerns, hexavalent chromium is a proven, trivalent chromium a potential, and cobalt ions a possible carcinogen. These devices wear over time releasing potentially cancer-causing metal debris into the body. An internal memo from DePuy raised this very concern, “there has been concern for some time that wear debris may be carcinogenic… One study suggested a threefold risk of lymphoma and leukemia 10 years after joint replacement” (vi).
Hip Replacement Lawsuits
Product liability lawsuits have been filed against a number of companies. Many of these suits allege that hip manufacturers put products on the market that were not adequately tested and were defectively designed. Patients have also filed medical malpractice lawsuits against doctors who made mistakes during the implantation of their hip device. If you or a loved one has been suffered serious injuries after being implanted with one of the following devices, then you should talk to an attorney about your legal options.
- Biomet M2a-Magnum
- DePuy ASR
- DePuy Pinnacle
- Stryker ABG II and Rejuvenate Modular
- Wright Conserve and Profemur
- Zimmer Durom Cups
Do You Need a Lawyer for Your Hip Replacement Lawsuit?
If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries due to a hip implant, then you may want to talk to a personal injury lawyer. An experienced attorney can give you valuable personal and legal advice. We are now working with some of the more experienced hip replacement lawyers in the country who can file a lawsuit on your behalf. There is no legal fee unless you receive a settlement or award for your injuries. Please fill out a contact form online or call us toll-free at 1-800-992-6878.
- (i) Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010 Inpatient Surgery.
- (ii) Iowa Orthopedic Journal, 2003.
- (iii) Forbes, August 17, 2012.
- (iv) USA Today, June 27, 2012.
- (v) Bloomberg, June 21, 2012.
- (vi) British Medical Journal, February 28, 2012.