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Understanding Hip Replacement Complications and Lawsuits

October 26, 2018

Over 2.5 million Americans are living with a hip transplant and that number is expected to rise dramatically in the decades to come. Hip replacements have been in existence since the first one was attempted in the late 1800’s when surgeons would use ivory to replace the hip joint. In the early 1920’s, ivory was replaced by glass, which didn’t work out well because the glass would often shatter because of the force that was placed upon it.

Almost 40 years ago, surgeons performed the first FDA approved hip replacement surgery. At that time, the implant had a smooth, polished stainless-steel stem and plastic socket and both pieces were glued into place. Decades later, hip replacements are commonplace, with many different options available to surgeons and patients.

Full hip replacement surgery involves removing the portion of your hip that has been damaged and is then replaced with an artificial joint that is generally comprised of metal and plastic.

Because baby boomers are living longer than ever, advanced arthritis is also on the rise. Baby boomers are also leading a more active lifestyle, so hip replacements are becoming commonplace, even at younger ages, and those replacements are expected to last longer than anticipated. The problem with this is that manufacturers of hip replacement implants are rushing new hip implants and technologies to the market, often without them being properly evaluated for safety or long-term complications.

As a result, you or a loved one may undergo a faulty hip procedure and suffer serious complications that are directly related to the hip implant. Many people with faulty hip replacements in Texas and elsewhere have already come forward to seek compensation from the manufacturers of hip replacement implants.

Hip Replacement Complications

While some immobility, inconvenience, and pain are to be expected after you have your hip replacement surgery, extreme or ongoing complications should not be dismissed. Be sure to speak to your surgeon about any problems you may be experiencing because they could be indicative of more serious complications.

One of the main issues affecting those who have undergone a hip replacement procedure is the use of metal-on-metal implants. Components of a metal-on-metal hip replacement implant could contain chromium and cobalt, which have been shown to have the potential to damage the tissue surrounding your implant when the components rub against each other. This friction eventually can erode the surfaces, and metal particles could be released and absorbed by the tissue surrounding them. Common complications include:

Metallosis – This occurs when the tiny metal particles in the tissue that are around the implant accumulate because the implant itself is corroding.

Tissue Death – Because the tissue around the implant is affected by the faulty device, it may suffer from necrosis, which is tissue death, or ALVAL, aseptic lymphocytic vasculitis associated lesions.

Pseudotumors – This happens when masses form in the soft tissue around the hip implant device.

Osteolysis – This is the destruction or total disappearance of bone tissue

Other problems and risks that have been associated with hip replacement surgery include unequal leg length after the surgery, nerve damage, muscle damage, swelling and/or pressure that causes numbness, increased blood clot risks, and infections.

Manufacturer Recalls

Recently, manufacturers such as DePuy Orthopedics, Wright Medical, Stryker Corporation, and Smith & Nephew have started recalls on some and/or all of their hip replacement implant devices.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses the word “recall” when the manufacturer takes a removal or correction action to address a problem with their medical devices that violate the law of the FDA.

The manufacturers may issue a recall when a medical device, such as a hip replacement implant, shows that there’s a significant or unreasonable risk to people’s health and/or when the device is found to be defective. In addition, the FDA may issue a recall if the manufacturer of the devices refuses to recall their product that is connected with significant health problems or even death.

Hip Replacement Lawsuits

Lawsuits against many manufacturers of hip replacement devices continue to mount. The devices that are the most frequently named in lawsuits include DePuy SR or Pinnacle metal-on-metal, Zimmer MMC, Zimmer ProxiLock, Wright Medical Conserve, Stryker LFIT V40, Rejuvenate, ABGII, Accolade, Citation, or Meridian, IMNlife science Apex K2. The Smith & Nephew Emperion modular hip system has been linked to the implant stem fracturing or breaking. If either of these complications should occur, you may have to have a revision surgery and have the implant replaced entirely.

Updates on a few of the many hip replacement lawsuits:

In December 2010, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ordered that all federal lawsuits that involve DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip implants be consolidated and be overseen by the United States District court for the Northern District of Ohio.

DuPuy Pinnacle – As of 2011 all federal cases surrounding this implant were consolidated. All new federal cases are being heard in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

Stryker Rejuvenate and AGB II implants – This case has been settled and these settlements will provide for significant compensation to injured patients. All new federal claims regarding these implants are being heard in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota.

Wright Conserve, Dynasty, Lineage, and Profemur Hip Implants – In November of 2017 all lawsuits regarding these devices were resolved under many different settlement agreements and is being overseen by the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

While many of these hip replacement manufacturers have already settled their cases, other hip replacement manufacturers such as Smith & Nephew, are still facing multiple hip replacement lawsuits in Texas and throughout the United States.

Even when a settlement is reached, these settlements often provide for a base award that is subject to adjustments both up and down. In some cases, the manufacturer of your hip replacement implant may offer a program, separate from any lawsuits, that could cover out-of-pocket expenses associated with the injuries you suffered as a result of your hip replacement implant. However, these programs do not award you for any pain and suffering.

Finding Justice for You or a Loved One

If you or a loved one has had to undergo hip replacement surgery because of medical complications, is currently in severe pain, or is otherwise suffering from other complications due to a hip replacement surgery, then you deserve justice.

Hip replacement manufacturers make billions of dollars every year on the products they make, and they can spend millions of dollars to protect those earnings and maintain the status quo. This is why you need a team of experienced medical malpractice lawyers who know how to navigate the complicated legal waters, avoid pitfalls, and ultimately achieve at least some form of closure and justice for the pain or suffering that you or your loved one had to endure.

The team at Fears Nachawati understands the frustration and anguish felt by those who have suffered from a surgical procedure that was meant to help improve their quality of life, whose consequences or complications were never warned about, and we are fully prepared to help victims recover from this devastating blow.

If you or a loved one has suffered after undergoing hip replacement surgery, then the legal team at Fears Nachawati is here to help you hold the responsible parties accountable. Contact our experienced team today for a free, no obligation legal consultation to discuss the specifics of your case. Please call (866) 705-7584 or visit the offices of Fears Nachawati located throughout the great state of Texas, including in Houston, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, and San Antonio.


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