A failing hip replacement can show itself with symptoms around the joint as well as throughout the body, reports Boca Raton hip replacement lawyer Joe Osborne.
The first metal replacement hip in the United States dates back to 1940. The history of these devices, like many medical devices, includes advancements, improvements and problems. According to Joe Osborne, a Boca Raton hip replacement lawyer, “for those with defective artificial hips these problems can severely limit your physical abilities, give you acute pain and threaten your health and life.”
For metal on metal hip replacements, where both the new ball and socket of the artificial hip are made of metal, problems arise because the metal parts rub together continuously and eventually metal leaches out into the blood stream as well as into nearby tissue and bone. How do you know you’re having problems with an artificial hip?
Metal debris from the hip can cause inflammation in nearby tissues causing bone loss, which can cause the implant to loosen. Up to 35% of defective, modular, artificial hips removed from patients show corrosion or other evidence of damage, according to St. George Hospital in Sydney, Australia.
Bone fracture, dislocation of the hip, components being in the wrong position, infection around the implant and certain stem designs can also contribute to loosening of the stem component.
Symptoms may include hip/groin pain, swelling, numbness or having difficulty walking.
The metal from the joints doesn’t just stay in the area of the hip. It can spread through your entire body through your blood stream causing metal poisoning, or metallosis. Patients with metal on metal hip implants need to pay close attention to changes in their general health, in addition to new or worsening symptoms involving the hip. There could be,
General hypersensitivity reaction (skin rash),
Cardiomyopathy (abnormal heart muscle, making it more difficult to pump blood through your body),
Neurological changes including sensory changes (difficulty in hearing or seeing),
Psychological change (including depression or cognitive impairment),
Kidney impairment, and
Thyroid dysfunction (including neck discomfort, fatigue, weight gain or feeling cold).
Other issues can arise when the components mechanically loosen over time (often five to ten years after surgery with a much greater chance of this happening 12 to 15 years post-surgery), especially if the person is young and has used the new joint for a long time, is physically active or over weight. Eventually the joint may dislocate, essentially falling apart. Thigh pain is the main symptom of stem loosening, especially during walking. The pain often radiates to the knee, adds Joe Osborne hip replacement attorney in Boca Raton.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has this advice for anyone with a metal on metal artificial hip showing these symptoms,
If you are suffering hip/groin pain, noise from the joint, difficulty walking or a worsening of your prior symptoms, see your orthopedic surgeon to evaluate your implant. You may need a physical exam and other evaluations depending on your symptoms.
If there are new symptoms or medical conditions outside of your hip, report these to your primary physician and remind him or her that you have a metal-on-metal hip implant.
If you show symptoms of a failing hip or you are unsure you can set up a free review with our office to determine the type and model of your replacement hip implant and whether it is part of the hip replacement recall. You can discuss your legal rights with an experienced Boca Raton hip replacement lawyer about compensation for the pain, suffering, physical limitations, additional medical treatments, impact on your life, relationships and ability to work. We can talk about how the law may apply to your situation and the best ways to protect your legal rights and interests.