Hip replacements are the result of disease or injury causing the bones in the joint to break down or inflict pain. Doctors prescribe therapy, exercise or medication to either decrease the pain or improve the function, while the joints heal. But if the damage is severe and prevents daily activity, doctors may prescribe surgery for a hip replacement. Typically, healthy and active individuals experience good results with this type of operation. Like other aspects of medicine, there have been many improvements, along with risks and consequences depending on the individual’s response to the treatment.
Today, hip replacement devices have come under fire accused of legal negligence in marketing defective health products. Victims have experienced severe to life-threatening consequences, unexpected financial burdens, and mental struggles. For the manufacturers of these devices, consequences of negligence have opened several lawsuits with many individuals hiring an attorney to receive settlements, while more patients’ participant in legal class action proceedings. Since the circumstances and cases are unique for each, by law the settlements differ pertaining to the cause and after-effect findings with the assistance of a lawyer.
Hip Implant Devices
The device showing the highest level of a defect is the metal on metal (MoM) hip replacement. Legal lawsuits show this particular device as a major contributor of poisoning as a result of embedding metal fragments into the hip’s soft tissue. Additionally, post-surgery conditions have caused dislocation of the hip, harsh pain, lack of movement and infections in the body. The MoM has been the most versatile hip replacement being used for both adults and younger patients due to its durability because of the metal.
The problem linking the manufacturer is the nondisclosure of the metal design shedding and interfering with the device’s function increasing the percentages for a serious infection called metallosis. A patient’s sensitivity to metal makes them more susceptible as the metal fragments collect in the hip area. Attorneys are representing cases where the surrounding tissues turn gray as metallosis sets in, leading to metal poisoning.
Popular Types of Metal Hip Replacements
The metal on polyethylene (MoP) reduces the friction between the device and the actual hip. But the MoP shares the same characteristic as the MoM with the erosion of the plastic leading to the device failing. More important is a condition is known as osteolysis causing the loss of bone around the hip replacement. As the plastic wears, particles become embedded in the body’s tissues, causing the bone to soften, eventually destroying the bone and tissue.
The ceramic on polyethylene (CoP) is a denser plastic allowing for a smoother surface and better durability. The same problem of wear and tear occurs with time causing osteolysis. Another ceramic version is the ceramic on ceramic (CoC) using a hard clay femoral ball. The design is intended to extend the wear resistance, but the device shatters causing acute health conditions with the loss of mobility. The last hip replacement device is the ceramic on metal (CoM) proposed to improve the MoM problems with hopes of ultimately eliminating the potential health hazards.
Over the past 40 years, hip replacement surgery has been the selected choice of treatment for hip fractures, and pains associated with limited movement, with the sole intent to improve the quality of life for many Americans suffering from this debilitating condition. The surgery itself comes with certain risks, yet the after-effects involving FDA-approved hip replacement devices have caused more dangerous health hazards to individuals seeking to improve their mobility and return to a level of healthy living. Today, the numbers of patients experiencing failure with these devices has increased, leaving patients to seek adequate compensation through legal proceedings.
Metal Hip Surgery
Medical practices include three types of hip replacement surgery using some form of artificial device as a replacement to the body’s nature hip structure. A total hip replacement includes the entire hip joint, ball and socket and the femoral stem. Partial hip replacement consists only of the ball, and the last type is a hip resurfacing process, where the cup is replaced as the ball is reshaped and covered with a metal cap.
Each year, more than 120,000 individuals have diagnosed annually in need of some form of hip replacement treatment. Since 2010 more than 326,000 hip replacements were performed as inpatient procedures with over 90% of the patients being over the age of 45. Looking back between the years of 2000 to 2010 the hip replacement procedures have more than doubled from 138,000 to 310,000 according to the National Center for Health Statistics. It’s a trend that continues as we proceed into 2016.
Metal Hip Complications
All medication procedures have some form of risks and complications depending on the individual’s health condition and vulnerability to the medical practices, medicines, and materials used during and after the procedure. Common side effects are treated with known remedies for patients, though many patients experience more serious post effects of infection, hip dislocation, fractures to the natural bone and the implant. The most noticeable difference may be the difference in leg lengths, creating a condition interfering with the patient’s ability to participate in the normal activity or require assistance with a cane, or walker.
Total hip replacement and resurfacing both shares the potential of debris from the implanted cup and ball. As the patient moves the ball and cup rub against each other, it’s this friction that causes the debris. The more active a patient, the more metal debris is generated, along with increased wear and tear. Partial hip replacement patients experience a potential risk because the artificial metal ball touches the natural cartilage in the hip socket. In some hip replacement cases, the cartilage and surrounding tissues weaken over time causing critical problems down the road.
Chronic Complications with Metal Hips
The patient’s overall well-being is always a primary concern since no two people are completely identical the side effects will vary in degree. The principal concerns when individuals look for appropriate treatment is the selection of implants and devices to ensure full recovery and the return to normalcy. When devices are defective they not only fail in the original purpose, but they aggregate conditions, which did not exist before the surgery, and the conditions are severe enough to threaten the patient’s lifestyle and well-being.
Two of these conditions are metallosis and osteolysis. Of the two metallosis is rare depending on the patient’s health history, but it is the most serious and proven to be a result of the metal pieces from the hip implant device found in the soft tissue of the body hip. The scary part about metallosis is the degree of its side effects of deterioration of the bone and tissue surrounding the implant. If the metal finds its way into the blood stream, other physical conditions along with cognitive and nervous system problems may occur.
Osteolysis causes the loss of bone through the proper process of attempting to remove foreign matter from the body. In this case, when metal particles are embedded, our body attempts to remove it, and by doing so, our bones are broken down through the process. This complication is a long term hip replacement condition with a very high rate of erosion due to defective hip replacement devices.