Hip replacements are one of the most common surgeries to correct joint problems that go as far back as three centuries. Like any other surgery, artificial hip replacement does carry some risk.
Metal-on-metal replacements that were once considered a huge advancement in helping to extend the life of the artificial hip have proven to be riddled with numerous problems and complications.
Unfortunately, these problems and complications have resulted in high failure rates which in turn have created multiple lawsuits that have cost manufacturers billions of dollars.
Why does someone need hip replacement surgery?
Hip replacement surgery is meant as a last resort to address pain in the hip region. This pain is severe enough that it prevents you from performing basic everyday activities such as getting up from a chair or walking without intense pain.
What exactly is Metal-on-Metal (MoM) hip replacement?
Basically, the device itself consists of three metal parts: the ball, stem and the shell.
The purpose of the metal-on-metal hip replacement was for the hip to hold up longer by reducing wear when the ball and stem rub together. It was also to lower the chance of device fracture and for the ball near the thighbone from slipping out. It has helped with some of these complications but some of the other problems that come with it are the issue.
What are signs my MoM replacement is defective?
There are a multitude of symptoms that can cause extreme pain and discomfort. Some of these include:
- Metal poisoning (also known as mellatosis)
- Extreme discomfort
- Difficulty in walking
- Swelling of the hip
- Possible bone loss
- Fracture of a bone near the implant
Sometimes these problems can be so severe that a “revision surgery” is required. Unfortunately, over 55 million people a year in the U.S. along have required correction to their first surgery. It can generate more pain than the original procedure, and carry a greater amount of risk.
What does the FDA say about metal hip replacements?
The FDA says that the metal-on-metal parts that were causing the problems are no longer being used and marketed in the United States. However, that does not help the people that had the surgery previous. Research as to the safety and complications of metal-on-metal hip replacement surgery continues. In January of 2013, the FDA issued a safety statement regarding this surgery.
Currently, there are only 3 manufacturers allowed – Corin USA Limited, Smith and Nephew Inc., and Wright Medical Technology Inc.
What should I do if I am having these problems?
Go seek medical attention immediately. Also, if you have more questions regarding hip replacement and possible problems, The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons has comprised a helpful list of questions and answers to guide you.
Hopefully you are not experiencing any of these symptoms or complications resulting from your metal-on-metal surgery. However, if you believe that you or a loved one are being adversely affected by a defective metal-on-metal device, you could be entitled to compensation.