Hip replacements are typically suggested for individuals who are living with severe pain from a damaged hip joint. Hip arthroplasty can help you decrease pain in your joints and even increase mobility. Unfortunately, there are a variety of risks associated with hip replacements that could lead to a serious injury or death. If you or a family member was the victim of a faulty hip replacement, you should speak with an experienced hip replacement injury attorney.
Attorney Prosper Shaked is dedicated to helping you pursue your claim against negligent medical practitioners and pharmaceutical companies. Prosper Shaked has extensive litigation experience that he will utilize to represent you. To schedule a free legal consultation, contact Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA at (305) 694-2676, or contact us online.
Why is Hip Replacement Surgery Performed?
Hip replacement surgery is performed to replace a hip joint that is damaged or has worn down over time. During the surgery, your surgeon will replace your old hip joint with a prosthesis (artificial joint). A common reason that a hip replacement is needed is to help an individual who suffers from arthritis.
There are a few forms of arthritis that may require an individual to undergo hip surgery. Osteoarthritis is one form of arthritis that may affect your hip joint. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that is common among adults who are middle-aged or older. This form of arthritis causes the deterioration of joint cartilage and bones that are present in the hip.
Rheumatoid arthritis is another type of arthritis that can affect an individual’s hip joint. This form of arthritis affects the synovial lining of the hip joint and causes an individual to suffer from inflammation. Once the area has become inflamed, you may experience stiffness and severe pain in your joint. Traumatic arthritis is usually caused when a person suffers a hip injury. This type of arthritis may also deteriorate your hip cartilage.
While there are other treatments available to deal with arthritis and other conditions that may cause you to suffer from severe hip pain, if those treatments are unsuccessful, your doctor may suggest a hip replacement.
How Dangerous Are Hip Implants?
There are various risks associated with undergoing a hip replacement. Many of these risks are serious conditions that arise out of improper surgical procedures. Hip replacements are one of the most common surgical procedures that are performed in the United States. Approximately 2.5 million Americans are living with hip implants. The procedure is more common in women.
It is important to understand the risks associated with hip replacements in case you suffer a severe injury after undergoing hip surgery. Hip replacements have been shown to cause blood clots, infections, bone fractures, and other conditions and injuries which are listed below.
Blood clots are one risk a patient may face after hip surgery. Blood clots often form in your leg veins and cause serious pain and may affect your mobility. A blood clot in your leg, also known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), typically causes swelling in the calf and may cause you to feel like your leg muscles are tightening. Additionally, it is possible that a portion of a blood clot could break off and travel to your lungs or heart and cause other serious complications. Blood clots that reach or form in the lungs are referred to as pulmonary embolisms (PE). Signs and symptoms of a pulmonary embolism include:
- Shortness of breath that occurs suddenly and is exacerbated when performing activities
- Chest pain that feels worse when you breathe deeply or perform simple activities like eating or bending over
- Coughing up blood
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
Your physician may have a conversation with you about using some type of blood-thinning medication to mitigate this risk. Unfortunately, there are certain blood-thinning medications, like Xarelto, that may make your condition worse. If improperly treated, blood clots can also cause an individual’s death.
After undergoing a hip replacement, an infection may occur in the area surrounding your new hip. About 1% of patients who are 65 and older will suffer from an infection after hip arthroplasty. Out of that 1% of patients, roughly 60% contract an infection that is superficial and about 40% contract a serious infection.
To avoid an infection, your physician should administer antibiotics at the time of the surgery. While some infections can be treated with antibiotics, a serious infection may require additional surgery and the removal of your hip prosthesis. Typically, it will take about six weeks to deal with an infection that required the removal of a new hip. Once the infection is treated, another hip surgery can be performed.
It is important to note that the risk of infection will decrease as you begin to heal from surgery. However, there will always be some risk of contracting an infection due to your new hip.
While undergoing hip surgery, there is a possibility that a healthy area of your hip joint may fracture. Many bone fractures will heal on their own after a certain amount of time. However, if the fracture was severe, the patient may have to endure additional procedures to correct the fracture. The correction of a fracture may require a metal plate or bone grafts, which may cause a patient even more pain in addition to the hip replacement.
Hip dislocation is one of the most common injuries that may occur after hip replacement surgery. About 4% of patients who receive a hip replacement will suffer at least one instance of hip dislocation.
After receiving hip surgery, there is an increased likelihood that the ball of your new hip can become dislocated within six to eight weeks after your surgery. A hip dislocation occurs when the head of the femur pops out of the socket in the acetabulum, which is the concave surface of the pelvis. There are various ways that you could suffer a hip dislocation, including:
- Crossing your legs beyond the center of your body
- Bending your hip forward about 80 to 90 degrees, usually while sitting down
- Turning or rotating the leg with the new hip turned inwards
Hip dislocation injuries are more common among the following types of patients:
- Patients who are women
- Individuals who are 80 years of age and older
- Patients who frequently consume alcohol
- Patients with a previous hip surgery
To correct hip dislocation, your doctor may suggest the use of a brace. Hip dislocation is a one-time issue for about 40% of hip replacement patients. However, if your hip frequently dislocates, you may need to receive additional surgery to fix it.
Increase or Decrease in Leg Length
If your surgeon does not exercise caution during the operation, there is a chance that your new hip could result in an increase or decrease in the length of the leg. If the issue is severe, additional surgery could be needed to help make your legs closer in length.
Filing a Hip Replacement Injury Lawsuit
Currently, there are hip replacement lawsuits filed against many different companies, like Johnson & Johnson affiliate DePuy, Smith & Nephew, and Stryker. DePuy has faced over 10,000 previous and ongoing lawsuits regarding three of their hip components: the acetabular cup system, the ASR acetabular system, and the ASR hip resurfacing system. In November 2017, a jury awarded $247 million for DePuy hip replacement complications.
While Smith & Nephew is headquartered in Great Britain, they currently have about 253 pending cases against them in the U.S. District Court of Maryland. Many of these cases have been aggregated and are being handled as a class action lawsuit. Stryker is currently in the process of settling more than 5,000 lawsuits derived out of their Rejuvenate and ABG II modular-neck hip implants. The settlement amount was nearly $1.5 billion.
If you were a victim of injuries caused by defective hip implants, it is important to know how much time you have to file a personal injury lawsuit. The statute of limitations governs the amount of time you have to file a particular type of lawsuit. The statute of limitations is different in each state. Some states may allow more time to file suit than others, depending on the nature of the case and the circumstances under which the injuries were discovered.
If your loved one passed away because of complications with a hip replacement or hip implant, you could possibly file a wrongful death lawsuit. The statute of limitations for wrongful death cases varies from state to state, but generally begins with the date of the victim’s death.
Defective Hip Replacement Lawsuit Lawyer for Injured Patients
If your family member suffered an injury or passed away due to a defective hip replacement or implant, you should consult with an experienced hip injury lawyer today. Prosper Shaked is here to represent you in your time of need. You should not have to suffer the severe consequences of an unsuccessful hip surgery due to the negligence of a medical practitioner or pharmaceutical company. To schedule a free legal consultation, call Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA at (305) 694-2676, or contact us online.