Hip replacement is a common medical procedure that replaces a damaged hip joint with a prosthetic implant. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reports that more than 231,000 total hip replacements are performed each year in the United States. In 2007, there was a 362% increase in ASR hip implants sold in Minnesota alone.
Causes of Hip Pain
Most people undergo hip replacement surgery because they experience severe pain, and cannot perform simple daily tasks such as cooking or getting dressed. The level of pain varies, and depends on the damage done to the hip joint. This damage can be caused by a range of medical conditions, from arthritis to avascular necrosis (bone death caused by poor blood supply in hip joint area).
Don’t ignore hip pain, as it could be a sign of hip damage and you may need surgery. However, not every ache and pain automatically means that you’re a candidate for hip surgery – consult with a medical doctor for a proper diagnosis.
Pain After Surgery: Should You Be Concerned?
Patients usually find immediate pain relief within one to two days after surgery, especially arthritis sufferers. However, if you are still unable to perform daily tasks and continue to suffer from pain months or even years after surgery, there could be a problem with your implant. Metal splinters can break off and embed into the tissue surrounding the hip joint, and cause the following problems:
Pain while walking or sitting
Joint inflammation and tenderness
Pain in the thigh, hip, or groin areas
FDA Recalls Metal on Metal Hip Implants
As a patient, you rely on medical technology to ensure that your artificial hip will last more than a few years, and that your mobility and quality of life will improve. You don’t expect to be in far worse shape after hip replacement surgery.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened to some patients who received hip implants from DePuy Orthopaedics, a division of Johnson & Johnson and the largest manufacturer of artificial hips across the globe. In 2010, the FDA issued a recall of DePuy’s metal on metal hip replacement systems because of high failure rates. As a result, many patients underwent revision surgeries to remove and replace DePuy’s defective hip device.
In March 2012, The National Joint Registry of England and Wales, one of the world’s largest databases of joint implants, tracked more than 400,000 hip replacement patients for seven years after their surgery. The study found that over 31,000 patients had metal on metal hip replacements that caused complications.
Metal Pieces Cause Toxicity in Blood and Soft Tissue
Complications from a defective metal on metal implant go beyond excruciating hip pain. If the implant is defective, metal pieces chip away and are then absorbed into the bloodstream and soft tissue, and can damage nerves, muscle, and bone.
These small metallic pieces put patients at risk for heavy metal toxicity – elevated levels of chromium, cobalt, and titanium that can be detected through a blood test. Heavy metal toxicity can lead to further health issues such as:
Heart and respiratory problems
Digestive issues (nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, etc.)
Pain in joints and muscles
Muscle tremors and twitches
If you continue to experience pain and are concerned that you received a recalled metal hip plant, contact Meshbesher & Spence today to set up a consultation with our personal injury lawyers.