Defective hip replacements: What every patient should know

As a result of defective implants, patients who undergo hip replacement surgeries may suffer added and worsened medical conditions.

In recent years, there have been a number of advancements in medical treatment techniques and options. One such development is total joint replacements, including hips, knees and shoulders. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there were 332,000 hip replacement surgeries in 2010 alone. The purpose of these procedures is to repair damage and improve the quality of life for patients in Illinois, and elsewhere. As a result of impact defects, however, patients may actually develop additional, worsened medical conditions.

For some patients, damage in their hip joints causes pain so severe that it interferes with their daily activities. This damage may result from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and other factors, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. When other treatment options, such as physical therapy, do not alleviate the symptoms, patients may be candidates for hip replacement surgeries.

Common hip implant defects

Many companies utilize a metal-on-metal design for their hip joint implants. This was supposed to create stronger implants that offered patients more stability and greater range of motion and flexibility. Unfortunately, these systems have displayed a number of inherent design issues, which has lead to failed procedures and recalls of these dangerous products.

As the joint moves, the pieces in these metal-on-metal implants rub against each other. These surfaces then give off small debris particles and have the potential for corrosion, which may emit metal ions. When these particles and ions enter the space around the implant and the bloodstream, it can cause a serious reaction in some patients.

Complications resulting from defective hip replacements

Defective hip replacements may cause a number of complications for patients. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, these problems include the following:

  • Impaired renal function
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Neurological impairments
  • Psychological changes
  • Skin rash

Additionally, metal particles and ions entering the bloodstreams may result in metallosis, or metal poisoning, for some patients. Some defects, such as corrosion, may reduce hip implants' strength and ability to handle the movements and stress they are put through. As a result, they could loosen or become dislocated. This may cause patients to experience high levels of pain and decreased mobility.

Working with an attorney

When patients in Illinois receive defective hip replacements, they often require further medical treatment and care, including additional surgical procedures. As a result, they may incur undue medical expenses, and be left unable to work and provide for their families. Depending on the circumstances, the implant manufacturer may be held liable for the resulting damages. Therefore, those who have experienced situations such as this may benefit from consulting with an attorney. A legal representative may help them to understand whether a defective implant caused their condition, as well as their options for pursuing compensation.