Metal on Metal Hip Implant Revision Surgery Complications
Metal on metal (MOM) hip implants were designed to be durable and sturdy. Patients who received a metal on metal system were told that their implant would last for decades. However, some metal on metal hip implants have an increased risk of premature failure. As a result, patients are being forced to go back under the knife for invasive and painful revision surgeries.
Stryker, a leading MOM hip implant manufacturer, is being sued for allegedly concealing risks associated with one of its most popular devices.
Have you been required to undergo a revision surgery because of a defective metal on metal hip implant? You may be entitled to compensation by pursuing a metal on metal hip replacement lawsuit. Contact Rosen Injury Lawyers to learn about your legal rights and options. Our attorneys are prepared to help you fight for the money you deserve. Call for your free, no obligation case assessment today.
Metal on Metal Hip Implants Designed to Last For Years
When hip implants first became popular, patients had the option of choosing either a plastic or ceramic implant system. Over time, it became clear that these materials were not particularly durable. Metal devices were designed to provide patients with an implant that would last for years.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, approximately 80 percent of hip implants last for at least 20 years after surgery. The use of metal – particularly chromium and cobalt – is credited for extending the life of a hip implant system.
Failing Metal on Metal Systems Require Revision Surgery
Why is it important for hip implant systems to last for a long time? When hip implants break down, patients can be at risk of suffering serious health issues.
A second surgery, known as revision surgery, is required to:
- Remove the old hip implant
- Fix injuries caused by that original hip implant, and
- Replace the old implant with a new device.
Revision surgery is invasive and can increase the risk of dangerous complications.
Stryker Implant System Associated With Premature Failure
Stryker’s LFIT V40 Femoral Head has been associated with an increased risk of premature device failure. Patients have reported device failures within 6 or 7 years after surgery. Some patients have even had the Stryker device fail less than one year after implantation.
Hundreds of patients who received the defective Stryker implant have filed lawsuits against the company. The lawsuits accuse the company of selling a defective product and concealing information about the risks of premature failure. Every plaintiff in these suits claims to have undergone at least one invasive and costly hip revision procedure.
Complications Associated With Hip Implant Revision Surgeries
A metal on metal hip implant fails if it:
- Breaks or fractures
- Loosens or shifts from the site of implantation, or
- Causes internal tissue damage.
When an implant fails, the only solution is to have the patient undergo a second surgical procedure to remove and replace the defective device.
Hip revision procedures can be similar to initial hip replacement surgeries. However, revision surgeries tend to be more complicated and difficult. As a result, revision surgeries are less likely to be successful, tend to take longer, and pose a higher risk for serious complications. Risks associated with hip revision surgery include:
Infection: Infections are a risk in any surgical procedure. The risk can increase when you are forced to undergo multiple surgical procedures because of a failed metal on metal implant.
Bone loss: Many hip replacement patients lose a significant amount of bone mass over time. Doctors may be required to perform additional procedures during revision surgery, including bone grafts, to prepare the body for another implant. Many hip implant patients are also older and suffer from arthritis and other degenerative issues.
Bone fractures: Bone mass and quality can suffer when your metal on metal hip implant fails. This increases the risk of fracture when a second device is implanted during your revision surgery.
Device loosening: Revision surgery often involves replacing the defective hip implant with a new device. However, successfully implanting a second device is often difficult. Poor bone quality can prevent surgeons from properly securing your new implant into position. This increases the likelihood that the new implant will loosen over time.
Device dislocation: Device dislocation is nearly twice as likely after revision procedures than original hip replacement surgeries.
Blood Clots and Pulmonary Embolism: Surgical procedures can increase the risk of developing blood clots in the thigh and leg. Blood clots can be life-threatening if they travel to your heart, lungs, or brain. Pulmonary embolisms, which occur when a clot blocks the arteries in the lungs, are of particular concern for hip revision patients.
Leg length discrepancies: Damage to your bones and the site of the implant can cause one leg to be longer than the other. You are more likely to suffer leg length discrepancies when you receive a second implant during revision surgery.
These complications, on their own, are enough to cause a patient a great deal of pain and suffering. Unfortunately, research suggests that these complications could also increase the likelihood of additional revision procedures in the future. In other words, you may require multiple revision surgeries once your original metal on metal hip implant system fails.
Infected Implants Require Multiple Revision Surgeries
Multiple revision surgeries may be necessary if your metal on metal hip implant becomes infected. This is a common complaint from patients who have received Stryker’s LFIT V40 device. In most cases, you’ll be required to undergo two separate surgeries.
First Infection Revision Surgery: The defective and infected hip implant is removed during the first revision surgery. Any infected or damaged tissue will also be removed at this time. This procedure can be quite a shock to the body. You’ll need time to recover before you can get a new implant.
Second Revision Surgery: A second device is implanted during a second surgery after the body has had time to heal and recover.
There are certain situations when an infected device may only require one revision surgery. If your infection is diagnosed early enough, surgeons can clean the infected tissue and device all during one procedure. However, this still requires you to undergo at least one revision surgery.
Why Did My Metal on Metal Hip Replacement Fail?
Hip implants aren’t permanent devices. They break down over time. However, hip implants are supposed to have a relatively long life. Some implants, including the Stryker VFIT 40 Femoral Head, are prone to premature failure. Studies suggest that these Stryker devices are failing because the metal components deteriorate rapidly as they rub together.
Hip implants are comprised of two parts: a ball and a socket. While surgeons will do everything they can to minimize friction, the ball and socket will inevitably rub together. In a metal on metal system, this rubbing and friction can degrade the implant. Over time, metal shards and ions break away from the device and are released into the bloodstream and nearby tissue. This can lead to devastating consequences, including metal poisoning and organ damage.
When metal is released into your body, it can also have a major impact on your hip implant. Metal ions and shards can weaken bones, muscles, and soft tissues that are required to hold the implant in place. Over time, the device can loosen or break entirely.
Signs of Hip Implant Failure
Have you experienced unusual or painful side effects after your hip implant surgery? This could be a signal that your device has failed. Symptoms of a failed hip implant include:
- Thigh, knee, or groin pain
- Swelling around the site of implantation, and
- Loss of mobility.
Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms. Early diagnosis of hip implant failure can help to minimize the risk of complications.
Some metal on metal hip implants are associated with an increased risk of early failure. Failure can cause severe health issues, including metallosis and infection. In addition to these complications, you will also be required to undergo a second surgery to remove and replace the device. Additional surgeries can cause problems of their own.
You trusted that your hip implant would improve your life, not make it worse. You weren’t warned about the risks. Filing a lawsuit against the company that manufactured your hip implant device can allow you to recover compensation for your injuries.
Contact Rosen Injury Lawyers for immediate legal assistance. Our metal on metal hip injury attorneys will fight to hold irresponsible hip implant companies, like Stryker, responsible for the harm they’ve caused. We are prepared to make sure that you get the money you deserve. Call our law firm today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation and learn more.