Hip replacement has become commonplace over the past ten years. Aging joints which would normally cause the elderly to spend their twilight years walking with a cane can now be replaced. In addition, younger patients who suffer hip injuries and breakage may also benefit from a hip replacement.
People with the following conditions are prime candidates for hip replacement:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Osteonecrosis or avascular necrosis
- Injury or fractures
- Bone tumors
Discovery of the Defect
Whether it be the DePuy or Zimmer Cup implants, these hip replacement systems have been deemed defective by many medical professionals. The DePuy recall was issued in August 2010 after the company acknowledged that their ASR units were failing at a rate twice the industry average. As a result, many ASR recipients have required a second “revision” surgery to replace the faulty unit they originally received.
In April 2008, Dr. Larry Dorr, a prominent orthopedic surgeon, wrote an open letter to members of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons complaining of Zimmer Durom Cup problems. He claimed that of the 165 Zimmer Cup implants he performed, 14 were “revised or required revision” within the first two years after surgery. Dr. Dorr indicated that the Cup was defective in that the fixation surface on the cup was problematic and a circular cutting surface on the periphery of the cup prevented it from fully seating.
So, the question then becomes, what causes the defect and in turn the need for further surgery? Defective hip implants have been known to dislodge, break and loosen. Even worse, a defective hip implant may cause inflammation and infection of the bone and soft tissue at the implant site, toxicity from the cobalt and chromium shed by the implant and problems with organs and tissue due to metal particles from the implant.
How Do I Know if My Hip Replacement is Faulty?
Most people experience the same basic symptoms:
- Pain which limits your ability to walk and move freely
- Creaking and popping noises when walking
- Difficulty when standing from a sitting position
- Sensation that the hip is out of joint
- Pain in the hip, groin, thigh or lower back
Artificial hips are supposed to last between 20 and 25 years. Discovering that you will have to undergo revision surgery within a few years of implant because of a defect in a hip replacement system would upset anyone. This is compounded by the fact that hip revision surgery, when compared to the original hip prosthesis operation, can be a more difficult procedure because of the loss of the patient’s bone. Hip revision surgery often has a less successful result than the original hip replacement operation. Additionally, the recovery time is much greater and usually reaches six months before the patient is able to walk without a cane.