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The Nightmare of Defective Hip Implants

Steve Wagner

Each year, more than 200,000 Americans get a hip replacement surgery done. About 85% of these surgeries are done for patients above the age of 60. A hip replacement surgery is a major medical event in a person’s life and one that typically takes more than six months to recover from. In most cases, a hip replacement leads to an improved quality of life due to reduction of pain and improved functionality. Some patients, however, have to endure increased pain and loss of function due to the failure of the implants. A hip replacement typically should last anywhere between 15 to 20 years. For some patients though, their hip replacements fail prematurely, sometimes within two to five years.

Patients who have a failed hip replacement typically have to endure increased pain and stiffness, along with swelling, and deterioration in ability to walk properly. A defective hip implant can also result in fractures or dislocations of the hip bones. In such cases, they will have to undergo a hip revision surgery, which is a much more complicated procedure than first-time hip replacement surgery and typically takes more time to recover from.

Traditionally, hip implants were coated with plastic or ceramic. More recently, metal-on-metal implants have come into use as they were shown to be more resistant to wear and tear. Unfortunately, recent studies have shown that instead of lasting longer, these implants are more likely to deteriorate and be in need of repair or replacement. What’s more, the study also found that chromium and cobalt ions from these hip implants can get dislodged and seep into surrounding tissue and can even spread through the bloodstream into the liver, spleen, lymph nodes, and kidneys. There are an estimated 500,000 people in the United States who have metal-on-metal hip implants.

In 2010, Johnson & Johnson issued a recall of their DePuy ASR Hip Replacement implants after discovering that their implants had a failure rate of about 13% within 5 years of surgery, i.e., about one in eight patients who received this implant would need revision surgery in five years. More recently in June 2012, Smith & Nephew Orthopaedics issued a recall for the metal liners of their R3 Acetabular System due to a high number of revision surgeries associated with the device. In July 2012, two products from the Stryker Corporation, the Rejuvenate and the ABG II Modular-Neck Hip Stem systems, were recalled after reports of metal corrosion which lead to metallosis in patients with these implants.

A defective hip implant can be a nightmare for a patient who has already spent thousands of dollars on surgery that was supposed to bring relief, only to find that he or she now needs to undergo even more pain and suffering. If you or any of your loved ones have experienced pain and disability due to a defective implant, do not hesitate to contact our Indiana medical malpractice lawyers now. If your hip implant has failed prematurely, we will give you a free and fair assessment of your case and help you get any compensation you are entitled to so that you can move ahead with your life.

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