A properly functioning hip replacement should last between 10 to 20 years, but there is still a chance that your hip replacement could fail. In Minnesota, the risk for metal on metal hip implant failure is even higher. A registry set up by Minnesota’s HealthEast Care System recorded four times the average replacement surgeries for patients who received metal on metal implants compared to other types of implants.
If you underwent hip replacement surgery, watch for these signs and symptoms that could be associated with implant failure.
Warning Signs of Defective Implants
If you have a metal on metal hip implant, it’s recommended to periodically visit your doctor or orthopedic surgeon for follow up exams and x-rays. Not all patients experience symptoms right away, so it’s important to carefully monitor your health post-surgery.
According to the University of California San Francisco Joint & Replacement Center, blood clots in the legs and pelvic area are the most common complications associated with hip replacement surgery.
Watch for these additional symptoms that could indicate hip implant failure:
Pain and discomfort in hip and groin area, lower back, or legs
Swelling and inflammation in the hip area
Difficulty when standing or walking
Decreased flexibility and mobility/range of motion
Creaking or squeaky noise in hip joint area
Limping – a limp can happen over time due to the joint degrading
Increased pain while performing weight-bearing and/or physical activities
Who is at Greatest Risk for Hip Implant Failure?
Women fall into the highest risk category when it comes to hip implant failure. They are more prone to bone weakness due to osteoporosis which causes bone fractures and damage, especially as they get older.
A woman’s skeletal structure, especially in the pelvic area, is different from men. Women usually have wider hips to assist with childbirth, which equates to larger hip sockets. Because of these bigger hip sockets, hip implants in women are more likely to fail. As a result, the hip implant loosens and dislocates from the socket.
It’s been found that metal on metal implants in women break down faster, because the metal components were shallow and smaller, which did not accommodate for women’s hip sockets.
Young, Active People
Young, physically active people, especially those who work heavy manual labor jobs or play rigorous sports, will eventually need a second surgery to replace their first implant. Over the years, more stress is placed on the hip joint, which wears down the implant at a faster rate.
Smoking also plays a significant role in artificial hip failure. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reports the failure rate for smokers is 9.1% compared to 3.4% in non-smokers. Smokers experienced further complications from surgery including: abnormal heartbeat, kidney failure, and blood clots.
According to a study conducted by the University of Iowa, obese patients have bigger thighs, which caused hip implants to fail. Because of the larger thigh size, the thighs push outward, which dislocates the hip implant and forces the joint out of its socket.
If you have further questions concerning symptoms related to hip implant failure, contact Meshbesher & Spence today to set up a consultation with our personal injury attorneys.