Hip Implant Problems and the Dangers of Metal-on-Metal Hips

Why Americans Are Undergoing Hip Replacement

Hip replacement surgery may well be one of the primary interventions in modern medicine, offering fairly reliable relief from pain and mobility. Unfortunately, among some types of hip implant devices, serious hip implant problems have surfaced. Approximately 300,000 hip replacement surgeries are performed across the globe each year, with about 65% of these in patients over the age of 65. Hip implant problems can occur in those who undergo hip replacement due to a diagnosis of arthritis or those who have suffered pain when engaging in physical activity. Prior to the advent of all-metal hip implants, surgeons implanted ceramic or polyethylene implants, resulting in relatively few hip implant problems.

Metal hip implants were designed with the younger, more active patient in mind, and manufacturers touted the new design as lasting as long as twenty years. Hip implant problems in all-metal devices surfaced fairly quickly and that promise of a recovered quality of life turned into a nightmare for some patients. While there are many different manufacturers of metal-on-metal hip implants, only a relatively few have been recalled at this point due to hip implant problems. Manufacturers resist issuing a recall of their metal hip device despite reported hip implant problems, primarily for financial reasons. Once a recall has been issued and the manufacturer admits there could be hip implant problems, liability comes into play and most manufacturers try their best to avoid such liability for as long as possible.

Hip Replacement Problems

While the failure rate of ceramic and polyethylene hip replacements which require revision surgery is approximately 1-4% during the first 15 years, metal hip implants have many more hip implant problems and the failure rate is anywhere from 8% to a reported over 45% among some specific devices. Loosening of the component may be the most common reason for the majority of failures among ceramic or polyethylene hip implants, however among all-metal devices, the hip implant problems are potentially much more serious. Age, sex, and the presence of arthritis may be among the issues which determine the level of hip implant problems; there appears to be a significant increase in failure rates among men as compared with those of women in all implants except the metal implant. In fact, metal implants appear to have almost twice the rate of failure in women as in men, leading to an increase in hip implant problems.

The Potential Dangers of All-Metal Hip Replacements

Hip implant problems and grave health issues have been linked to many of the recalled all-metal devices. Perhaps one of the most serious hip implant problems relates to the cobalt and chromium in the hip devices. Hip implant problems can develop when the metals rub against one another during periods of activity, resulting in tiny metal ions shearing away from the device and lodging in surrounding tissue or entering the bloodstream. Bone and tissue dissolution or death is one of the more common hip implant problems. When the metal shards lodge into the hip tissue, inflammation occurs, leading to pain and the potential failure of the implant should enough bone and tissue loss occur. Hip implant problems such as these are the result of the body initiating an autoimmune response when the metal pieces are lodged in the hip tissue.

Other potential hip implant problems relate to metal toxicity or metal poisoning. When the metal ions enter the bloodstream, there are many adverse health issues and hip implant problems which can occur. Recipients of the metal implant can develop hip implant problems such as:

  • Cardiovascular, renal, neurological and gastrointestinal disorders
  • Loss of vision or hearing
  • Balance issues
  • Loss of memory
  • Skin disorders
  • Disruption of DNA
  • Reproductive disorders

Any unusual pain or sudden development of pain is a definite signal for the patient to undergo medical tests in order to determine whether hip implant problems exist. Exams for patients with hip implant problems should undergo blood tests, x-rays and an MRI to determine whether the metal implant is suffering any level of failure. Any symptom such as inflammation or pain and symptoms of metal toxicity should be reported to the treating physician.

Are the Hip Replacement Risks Worth the “Reward?”

Depending on the application and the patient, metal-on-metal hip implants may present hip implant problems that simply outweigh any potential benefits. While the larger femoral heads implemented in the design of many metal hip devices was meant to offer more stability, unfortunately the flip side of that stability was increased wear and friction and higher levels of metal ions flooding the body. Many surgeons believe that hip replacement risks are higher than the potential benefit of an all-metal hip implant for most patients.

How a Knowledgeable Attorney Can Help With Hip Implant Problems

Prior to speaking with a representative of the manufacturer of your hip implant device you should consider speaking with an experienced hip recall attorney regarding your specific hip implant problems. The attorneys of Sullo & Sullo can compassionately guide you through the metal hip implant recall issues at hand. Our attorneys understand that large corporations who are struggling under a medical device recall and mounting lawsuits may not be as forthcoming about their hip device as hoped. Many attorneys believe the majority of hip replacement problems stem from issues the manufacturers were well aware of, meaning these manufacturers put financial gain over your health and safety.

Joining a Class Action Hip Litigation

The advantage of a class action hip lawsuit is that it allows a leveraged settlement without the need to litigate claims individually. Once notified, all potential class action members are allowed the opportunity to file a hip lawsuit claim. A primary disadvantage of a class action hip lawsuit is that whatever the settlement amount may be, it will be split equally between all members of the class action hip litigation. This means that a person who suffered extreme harm from the devices could receive the same settlement as the person who suffered minimal harm. Those who join in a class action hip lawsuit are bound by the settlement the class reaches and forbidden from filing individual hip litigation.

Joining an MDL Hip Lawsuit

An MDL hip lawsuit could be a better choice, particularly among those patients who were severely harmed by a metal hip implant. Multidistrict litigation allows large numbers of similar hip litigation cases to be consolidated and heard before a single judge. Cases with common factual or legal issues are grouped together for discovery, pre-trial hearings, trial scheduling and settlement conferences, however each person maintains a separate hip lawsuit for settlement purposes. The details of each individual’s case will be heard during their hip litigation and settlement is based upon the specific amount of harm each patient suffered.

Getting Help with Your Hip Implant Lawsuit

It’s important that you discuss the issues regarding your potential hip lawsuit with a knowledgeable attorney such as those with the Sullo & Sullo Law Firm. Our attorneys can help you determine whether joining a class action hip lawsuit or an MDL hip litigation is in your best interests. A hip implant lawsuit can be a scary undertaking for many people however filing a hip lawsuit may be the only way you can ensure a negligent manufacturer is made to pay for marketing an unsafe medical device. Our attorneys offer compassion and experience and can guide you through the hip lawsuit process.

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