Metal hip replacement surgery is meant to reduce pain caused by an injury or wearing down of the hip and help increase mobility. Although many patients who receive hip replacement surgery develop positive health outcomes, hip replacement patients may experience serious, often debilitating, health complications.
When treatment options such as physical therapy and prescription medication fail to fix problems associated with the hip joint, surgery may be necessary to remove problematic parts of the hip joint and replace them with metal, plastic, or ceramic materials.
Based on factors such as a patient’s age and the specific type of problem associated with the hip joint, physicians often decide between the following procedures:
- Total Hip Replacement: A total hip replacement uses an artificial joint to replace the entire hip structure.
- Partial Hip Replacement: A partial hip replacement is mostly used when only one part of the hip needs treatment.
- Hip Resurfacing: Hip resurfacing may delay total hip replacement in younger patients and is often used to help with arthritis.
Metal-on-metal (MoM) hip implants are often considered to be the most durable and can withstand the active lifestyles of younger patients. Despite their association with serious health risks, MoM implants are a popularly promoted type of implant by many of today’s manufacturers.
Risks associated with metal hip replacements include blood clots, joint infection, fracture, dislocation, change in leg length and loosening of the hip.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), MoM hip implants have unique risks in addition to the risks associated with all hip implants. While surgeons attempt to best fit the implant for minimal particle release, there is no way to completely avoid the production of some metal particles.
In MoM implants, some of the metal ions such as cobalt and chromium from the metal implant or metal particles may enter the bloodstream. Over time, the materials slide against each other, causing metal pieces to be released and wear off of the implant into the space surrounding the implant. The damage caused is called “adverse local tissue reaction (ALTR)” or metallosis. Tissue and bone damage may lead to pain, loosening, device failure, and the need for revision surgery.
Signs and symptoms of metallosis include the following:
- Necrosis (death of soft tissue around the implant)
- Aseptic lymphocytic vasculitis-associated lesions (ALVAL) (characterized by soft tissue masses and fluid build-up)
- Osteolysis (bone loss as a result of the body’s reaction to metal)
- Chromosomal aberration
In addition to the risks associated with a hip implant’s components, hip implant failure can potentially cause the loosening of the replacement and may lead to revision surgery.
A personal injury lawyer specializing in hip replacements can help in a variety of ways. If you have been injured by a hip replacement or similar device, contact a personal injury attorney at the Linville Law Group today.
You may be eligible to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Family members of those who have died may also be eligible to recover compensation for damages, including funeral expenses and the pain of losing a loved one.
Be aware: the law places a time limit on your ability to file a claim. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.