Hip Replacement Attorneys
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, more than 285,000 total hip replacements are performed each year in the United States as are thousands of hip resurface operations. Hip replacements/resurfacing substitute diseased cartilage and bone with other materials, and enable people to maintain reasonably active lifestyles without the pain that is often associated with a degenerative hip. Improvements in joint replacement surgical techniques and technology have greatly increased the effectiveness of total hip replacements since they were first performed in 1960. Mimicking the ball and socket hip joint, all current designs feature a ball component made of a highly polished strong metal or ceramic material and a socket/cup component made of plastic/polyethylene, ceramic, or metal. The ball and socket may be made out of the same material, different materials, or the socket may be lined with a different material.
Metal-on-metal implants are popular because the metal is durable and allows for a larger ball, which offers improved stability. Unfortunately, it has been determined that the rubbing of the metal ball with the metal socket can cause debris to break off and enter the soft tissue around the implant as well as the bloodstream. This can cause a reaction in some patients, such as pain or swelling around the hip, osteolysis, and pseudotumors (fluid pockets). Additionally, the metal is subject to corrosion, which gives off metal ions that also cause problematic reactions. Furthermore, some of these devices have shown to be much less durable than promised – sometimes failing within a few years of implantation, far short of their expected 15 year minimum lifespan.
Premature failures have led to numerous lawsuits against some of the manufacturers of metal-on-metal hip replacement devices, alleging that the devices had design and manufacturing defects that led to high rates of failure and costly, painful revision surgeries. Patients have complained of severe discomfort, swelling, and loss of mobility. Many patients have also developed metallosis, which is an adverse tissue reaction caused by a buildup in the body of heavy metals such as cobalt and chromium. This form of metal poisoning can lead to relentless pain, breakdown of muscles, bone loss, tissue damage, skin rashes, thyroid problems, impaired vision, impaired hearing, and organ damage. These symptoms usually develop between one to four years after the implant surgery.
All medical devices must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to assess their safety, effectiveness, and quality before being sold to the public. A defect can result from many things including faulty design and poor manufacturing quality. If the defect is serious enough, the FDA or the manufacturer can recall the device in an attempt to remove it from the market. Manufacturers Smith & Nephew, DePuy, and Zimmer have all experienced hip replacement device recalls. Despite the recalls, some all metal hip devices remain on the market. Many of these implants have been linked to injuries, making additional recalls possible.
If you are unsure whether you have a metal-on-metal hip, you can call your orthopedic surgeon and ask for the manufacturer and model of your implant. This should be done even if you are not presently experiencing any negative side effects because serious problems could arise at any time. If it turns out that you are in fact depending on a potentially defective hip implant or if you have suffered complications as the result of a hip replacement, you should take action to protect your rights. Contact one of the experienced Western NY personal injury lawyers of Feroleto Law today by filling out this convenient online form or by calling 716-854-0700. No one should develop health problems because a medical device that was supposed to improve their quality of life was improperly designed, tested or manufactured.
At Feroleto Law, we believe that patients should not be injured by the very medical devices that should help them and we can help you pursue financial compensation for the pain, suffering, lost wages and medical costs that you have sustained as a result of these unsafe hip replacement devices. We have a record of success in challenging defective product cases and we energetically work to achieve the best results for our clients. In addition to cases handled in the Buffalo area, we are prepared to handle products liability claims on behalf of clients in Binghamton, Ithaca, Jamestown, Rochester, Syracuse, Niagara Falls, and other Western New York and Upstate New York communities. We would like to meet with you to discuss your case. Please call us at (716) 854-0700 or email us today.