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Hip replacement failure prompts hip replacement recall

Hip replacements are performed more often than any other orthopedic surgery in the United States. Accordingly, the number of patients at risk for postoperative hip replacement failure is sizable.

You may be one of them. If so, read on.

Hip replacements are most commonly implanted to relieve pain and/or restore mobility after a hip fracture, the onset of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, or the emergence of a tumor. These implants typically consist of three components:

• Stem piece with rounded head that anchors to the femur bone.
• Cup piece that anchors inside the socket of the acetabulum.
• Fixation product such as polymethylmethacrylate cement to anchor the stem and cup to their respective bones (unless those parts are designed to be anchored by bone-growth alone).

Hip replacement failure can occur when the implant contains a design flaw.

When many patients implanted with the same make and model of artificial hip have the same bad experience with it, the federal government may get involved by ordering the hip product removed from the market so that no one else is harmed.

Sometimes, the manufacturer acts to head off government intervention by voluntarily initiating a hip replacement recall. For example, hip implants forged from cobalt or chromium – so-called “metal-on-metal” hips – were the subject of manufacturer-launched hip replacement recalls after scientific studies documented the unusually high volume of cases where metal hip replacement failure resulted in the need for hip revision surgery.

The big problem with the metal hip implants at the center of this recall is that there exists a possibility tiny metal flakes can grind loose from the components as the implant wearer walks, sits down and performs other movements involving the femur and acetabulum. Medical researchers say that these freed metal bits can settle onto surrounding soft tissues and play havoc with them. The resulting problems include:

• Inflammation
• Ongoing tissue infections and breakdowns
• Fever
• Pain (moderate to severe)
• Mobility loss

But whether your hip replacement is made from metal or other materials (i.e., polyethylene and ceramic), your only medical recourse when any of those abovementioned problems arise (and treatment using medications or physical therapy proves ineffective) is to undergo hip revision surgery.

Hip revision surgery is no picnic, however. Unlike hip replacement surgery, hip revision surgery is a much more intensive procedure that carries with it an appreciably greater risk of things going wrong during surgery or in the weeks and months afterward.

In the event you are forced to endure a hip replacement failure or must undergo hip revision surgery, the first thing you should do after talking to your doctor is find good legal help. The reason is that you may be entitled to court-ordered or court-approved money from the makers and suppliers of your hip replacement. This money would be to pay you back for what you may have spent on medical care and services related to the hip replacement surgery and its aftermath. It also would be to compensate you for wages or income you might have lost during this terrible time in your life.

An excellent place to start the legal process is by completing the form to the immediate right on this page. After you click “submit,” you’ll be promptly contacted by a lawyer whose focus is hip replacement and hip revision cases.