What to Ask your Physician about Hip Replacement Failure

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What to Ask your Physician about Hip Replacement Failure

If you’re having issues with your hip replacement implant like difficulty walking, limping, squeaking, grinding, or popping noises in the hip, or having unexplained pain, numbness or swelling in the hip, groin or leg, you may be experiencing hip replacement failure.

If you suspect that your hip replacement system may be failing the first step is to make an appointment with your physician, as soon as possible.

The longer you wait, the more pain and possible complications you may face. Entering the doctor’s office at a time when you may be suffering or frightened by a suspected hip implant failure can leave you feeling unprepared and confused about the process. We’ve come up with a list of important questions to ask your physician, before seeking further treatment, revision surgery, or contacting an attorney to protect your rights.

Top Questions to ask about Hip Implant Failure

WHAT KIND OF HIP IMPLANT DO I HAVE?

Many metal-on-metal hip replacement systems have been recalled, and the FDA is currently looking at many more — even the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II, which were not technically considered traditional metal-on-metal hip implants have now been recalled. Whether or not your particular metal-on-metal hip implant has been recalled, you should have your implant and health checked, as precaution against reported issues with these types of hips.

CAN THE TYPE OF HIP IMPLANT I HAVE CAUSE METAL POISONING?

Elevated levels of chromium and cobalt in the blood have been identified in various metal-on-metal hip implants as a result of flaking metal debris. Have your blood tested to specifically measure for elevated levels of chromium and cobalt in order to diagnose or rule out metallosis.

WILL I NEED REVISION SURGERY?

Unfortunately, there is no way to repair a failed hip implant. The only solution is a second surgery to remove and replace the implant — called a revision surgery. These surgeries usually present more potential risk, greater complications and less satisfying outcomes.

IF SO, WHAT ARE MY RISKS WITH REVISION SURGERY?

Revision surgery is, in essence, a second hip implant and as such, can have greater complications as a result of weakened bone and tissue. This also leads to longer surgery and recovery times and potentially greater blood loss.

WHAT IS THE ESTIMATED RECOVERY TIME FOR REVISION SURGERY?

Revision surgery recovery times vary greatly depending upon the damage sustained. Initial hip replacement surgeries usually take six months to a year for full recovery but those with defective hip implants, requiring second surgery may find longer recovery times and even permanent and lasting effects like a limp or other physical disability. Recovery and rehabilitation from a revision surgery is slower process and patients need to be aware of the need to be patient with themselves and their healing process.

SHOULD I SURRENDER MY DEFECTIVE HIP IMPLANT TO THE COMPANY?

This question is actually better suited to your attorney, but it’s a good idea to make sure your physician understands that you do NOT authorize the any photographs to be taken during or post surgery and that you do not want a device company representative in attendance at your revision surgery.

Generally speaking, most attorneys will counsel you to retain your hip implant hardware with an approved medical device retrieval company per their protocol. This is due to the fact that removed hardware can become a critical piece of evidence in your claim against a medical device company. Most medical device retrieval companies work directly with your hospital and surgeon to preserve the device for subsequent testing and failure analysis. Remember, this is your hardware. You paid for it; don’t let anyone tell you anything to the contrary.
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