What is a Hip Replacement?
What is Hip Replacement?
A hip replacement is a surgical procedure that replaces painful hip joints with artificial hip replacements. Every year, approximately 450,000 people in the U.S. undergo hip replacement surgery. Hip replacements are considered one of the most important medical device breakthroughs in the last 40 years.
There are three types of hip replacement surgery: total hip replacement, where the hip ball and socket are replaced; partial hip replacement, which replaces only the ball; and hip resurfacing, where the cup is replaced but not the ball.
Hip replacements are needed when the wear and tear from a lifetime of activity sets in, or when disease or injury affects the hip joints. Common problems leading to hip replacements include:
- Osteoarthritis – A form of degenerative arthritis caused by wear and tear or from aging.
- Rheumatoid arthritis – A chronic, autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the joint lining, and destruction of bone, cartilage, ligament, and muscle tissue.
- Traumatic arthritis –A hip injury or tear in the cartilage that can cause debilitating pain or accelerate joint degeneration.
- Avacular necrosis – Loss of blood supply to the ball or head of the femur bone, resulting in cartilage loss and bone-on-bone contact.
- Bone tumors – Tumors can alter the shape of and affect the supply of blood to hip joints, resulting in cartilage loss.
- Paget’s disease – The enlargement and weakening of bones, causing deformity or fractures in the hip bones.
While the average age range for hip replacements is 60 to 70-years-old, even teenagers have hip replacements.
Hip Replacement Complications
Hip replacements have helped millions of people with hip problems improve their quality of life by increasing mobility, overcoming arthritis and recovering from fractures. However, a growing number of hip replacement patients have experienced serious complications as a result of hip replacement surgery.
Prior to 1990, hip replacement surgery was primarily reserved for the elderly. Today, advances in the design of and materials used in hip replacements have made the surgery appealing to patients under 55, who may not have opted for this procedure in prior years. The majority of modern hip replacements are made of metal-on-metal and metal-on-plastic.
However, studies have shown that the complications with these types of hip replacements are more common and, in some cases, more serious than in years past. Oftentimes, hip replacement complications can be traced back to the materials used in the device itself.
Complications with hip replacements can be very serious and even fatal. Common hip replacement complications include:
- Metallosis – The release and buildup of metallic debris into surrounding tissue, which can lead to metal poisoning, severe joint pain, bone deterioration, the formation of cysts and pseudotumors and tissue death.
- Osteolysis – The loss of bone around the hip replacement, accounting for about 75 percent of hip replacement failures.
- Heterotopic Ossification – The formation of bone outside of the skeleton and calcification of soft tissue, occurring in approximately 50 percent of patients after hip replacement surgery.
- Avascular Necrosis – Bone death caused by a lack of blood for an extended period of time. Can lead to implant failure.
- Periprosthetic Fractures – Bone fractures around the implant, typically caused by osteoporosis, pressure or stress on the implant.
Oftentimes, a patient must undergo revision surgery to replace or remove the implant as a result of hip replacement complications.
Although there are several brands of hip replacements that cause complications, problems with DePuy and Stryker have received national attention, due to the number of lawsuits being filed against the manufacturers.
About 93,000 people have received the DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System or the ASR XL Acetabular System total hip replacement system. In 2010, DePuy Orthopaedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, recalled their hip replacement devices, due to allergic reactions to metallic debris, cobalt or chromium poisoning, the development of pseudotumors and design problems that prevent proper implantation.
About 13 percent of people who received a DePuy hip replacement had to undergo additional surgery to correct the problem. Additional studies show that up to 40 percent of DePuy’s ASR devices are expected to fail within five years of implantation.
Stryker’s hip replacement models – Rejuvenate and ABG II Modular-Neck Hip Stem systems – were recalled in July 2012 after numerous patient complained of complications with metal leakage into the tissues, bones and blood; premature tissue death; bone degeneration; the development of psuedotumors; and pain requiring revision surgery.
Other hip replacement manufacturers that have recently come under fire include:
- Zimmer Holdings – Durom Cup
- Smith & Nephew – R3 Acetabular System
- Biomet – M2a Metal-on-Metal Hip Devices
- Wright Medical Technology – Conserve Plus
Filing a Hip Replacement Lawsuit
Although manufacturers like DePuy and Stryker have issued recalls of their devices, the warnings happened after thousands of patients already had surgery. Due to the severity of hip replacement complications, the injuries can sometimes be permanent, causing serious physical, financial and emotional distress. Revision surgery can cost patients tens of thousands – sometimes even hundreds of thousands of dollars. The pain and discomfort can interfere with a patient’s ability to work, perform routine tasks and inhibit mobility.
Filing a hip replacement lawsuit is one way to reclaim your life. Manufacturers of hip replacements are legally responsible to design, manufacturer and test the safety of their products, and are also accountable for proper marketing practices and adequate health warnings. Companies that fail to fulfill these obligations can be held liable through lawsuits.
Thousands of patients across the U.S. have filed hip replacement lawsuits, and it’s estimated that manufacturers like DePuy will have to pay billions of dollars to resolve them.
If you or someone you know had a hip replacement surgery from 2003-2010 and have experienced serious complications, you could be eligible to receive significant financial compensation.