What are the common hip replacement problems and complications?

Hip replacements are one of the most common implant procedures performed in the United States and an estimated 250,000 replacements are performed each year. A hip joint is a type of “ball and socket” joint and a total hip replacement involves replacing both these parts at the same time. The materials used in an artificial hip generally consist of either metal, plastic, or ceramic. Several years ago, metal-on-metal hip implants (where both the “ball and socket” are made out of metal) became a popular choice for hip replacements because it was believed this made them more durable than hip replacements containing plastic or ceramic parts. This has turned out not to be the case.

Studies have shown that metal-on-metal hip implant components wear down quickly and generate metallic debris that can cause pain, inflammation, swelling, tissue damage around the joint, trouble walking, and even bone destruction in some patients. A hip replacement attorney may help you get financial compensation for the injuries you’ve endured as a result of these faulty products.

The average hip replacement lasts for about 15 years, but the vast majority of complaint filings to the FDA involve people who have received a metal-on-metal hip implant and have, or will have to undergo a procedure to fix the failed hip implant after only a few years.

  • An MRI can be used to identify inflammation of the joint lining, also called synovitis, caused by an adverse tissue reaction to the metallic debris from metal-on-metal implants.
  • MRIs can tract the status of a patient’s inflammation and help doctors determine when an implant will need to be replaced before extensive bone and soft tissue damage occurs.

WARNING: The metal-on-metal hip implants cause both the “ball and socket” to grind together and release tiny particles of cobalt and chromium as the metal parts wear down and shed these metallic ions. Some patients are left permanently disabled from damage to their bones, muscles, and nerves due to the presence of these metallic ions.