As we all know, nothing in humans is indestructible and this even includes the almighty hip joint. With age and use, even the hip’s cartilage can wear down and even become damaged. Hips can become overused with age from various and frequent uses, and sometimes the bone itself can be fractured from a nasty fall or injury. In some cases, people will receive a hip implant after wear and tear throughout many years. But how do you tell when something has gone wrong?
Metal-on-metal implants with a ball and cup made of a cobalt and chromium alloy, had a surprisingly higher rate of failure compared to other hip implant materials. When comparing rates and what may last the longest, metal may not be the cleverest of options suggested.
In a five-year study, 6.2 percent of metal hips had failed in patients, followed by a low 3.2 percent of ceramic hips and 1.7 percent metal-on plastic. The most common reason of failure is loosening, where components will detach themselves from the bone. This can lead to pain and decreased function.
How will I know if a hip implant has failed?
In some cases, particle debris can result from a recipient moving their legs and causing friction and components to rub together.
For every step taken with a hip implant, 100,000 to 1 million particulates of debris are produced. Metal-on-metal hips with their cobalt and titanium debris can cause a condition known as metallosis. Furthermore, metal-on-plastic hips can create debris and cause a condition known as osteolysis. Metallosis is a rare condition that is caused by the buildup of metallic debris in the soft tissue of the body.
The effects of this condition can be acute in recipients who have metal sensitivity, where the condition can then lead to metal poisoning. As a result of metallosis, a patient may experience severe joint pain, implant loosening, local tissue necrosis, formation of cysts, and many other symptoms.
Osteolysis is the loss of bone around the hip replacement and is the cause of nearly 75% of all hip implant failures. The body releases enzymes into the area when it recognizes that the debris from an implant is foreign and decides to go about removing it.
This causes a chronic inflammatory condition. In the case where metal debris gets into the blood and the blood ion levels become too elevated, many other physical conditions can take place. This can include mental cognitive problems, emotional imbalance, severe headaches, and many problems with the nervous system.
Thigh pain can sometimes indicate a stem loosening or dislocation of the joint issue with the implant. Pain may also radiate to the knee in this case. These problems can often be noted with X-rays and from there, a physician will decide what needs to be done such as corrective surgery options.
If it is confirmed that my hip implant has failed, what can be done?
If you have had complications as a result of a faulty hip implant and the manufacturer is at fault, you may have a case with an attorney. There have been several major implant manufacturers over the years that have been involved in lawsuits because of these complications stemming in their patient’s hips.
Some manufacturers have handled the situation badly and failed to warn the public about the risks of the implants and complications that could follow. For instance, DePuy has faced nearly 12,000 lawsuits from people who received the ASR hip implant and people have been able to recovery from these claims. Prematurely failing hips that have been promised to sustain longer usage are an issue and put a damper on a person’s life.
In Bergen County, New Jersey, there is a Civil Action Case Code 293 against the actions of DePuy failing to deliver a product with lasting quality and warning the public eye. Manufacturing companies of medical devices uphold a certain standard and, if this standard is not met and you or a loved one have suffered a hip implant injury as a result, you may be able to receive compensation.