Given America’s aging Baby Boomer population, joint replacement surgeries are on the rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of total hip replacements among patients 45 and older grew from 138,700 in 2000 to 310,800 in 2010.
While millions of Americans have benefited from such a surgery and were given a new lease on life, others have serious problems after the surgery such as pain and mobility issues. If you are in the latter group of patients, you have the right to seek to recover your damages in a lawsuit. The easiest way to do this is usually to hire a compassionate mass torts attorney to represent you.
Symptoms of Hip Replacement Failure
Symptoms of a failing hip replacement can vary from one patient to the next depending on the type of implant used, how long it has been in use and various other factors. Generally speaking, though, the following symptoms are commonly related to hip replacement failure:
- High levels of chromium and cobalt in the blood caused by metal debris
- Bone loss caused by device loosening
- Clicking, popping, or grinding in the area of the hip implant
- Difficulty and pain when walking, standing, or carrying heavy objects
- Dislocation or loosening of the hip implant device
- Earlier than normal failure of the hip replacement
- Fractured hipbone
- Leg length discrepancy
Risks Associated With Metal-on-Metal Replacements
After many reports of adverse events, regulating agencies and hip implant manufacturers like DePuy, Stryker, Biomet, and Smith & Nephew sent out warnings to patients and recalled certain implant parts. In particular, Smith and Nephew—a company based in the UK known for its hip replacement parts—formally recalled the metal liner in their R3 Acetabular system on June 1, 2012 after numerous reports citing implant dislocation, infection, and bone fracture which required revision surgery.
Several cases of hip replacement recalls involved metal-on-metal hip replacements. Although these implants were sold with the idea that they would be more durable than other types of hip implants when they were first introduced, they have caused multiple health problems.
With metal-on-metal implants, the problems patients experience can be even more serious than issues with mobility and pain. Metal debris, most commonly chromium or cobalt, can be released into the patient’s body as the metal pieces rub against each other, causing significant damage to the patient’s body.
FDA Hip Implant Device Laws
Many patients rightfully wonder how such large recalls can happen if testing and approval are governed by the FDA. However, as per 21 CFR 807, medical device manufacturers can apply for the 510(k) premarket program to largely bypass the standard approval process.
This FDA program gives manufacturers the ability to put their products on the market if a similar product was already tested and approved. While this is a convenient way to get products on the market quickly, it is proving detrimental to many, as certain products have turned out to be flawed in ways a more rigorous FDA inspection may have caught in advance.
Hire a Qualified Hip Replacement Attorney
If you are suffering from the adverse effects of a defective hip replacement device, a dedicated hip replacement attorney may be able to help. Among many other services, they could review your medical records and the circumstances surrounding your surgery to determine if you could join a mass tort lawsuit against your specific hip implant manufacturer. With so many patients suffering due to problems with these implants, the evidence is hard for the manufacturers to refute. Call today to learn more about your options for compensation.