Hip Replacement Surgeries And Class Action Lawsuits

Hip Replacement Surgeries And Class Action Lawsuits

operation-1389104-mHip replacement surgery, also known as hip arthoplasty, is not an uncommon procedure today in Saint Petersburg, as well as other cities and towns.  Many members of the medical community consider it one of the most influential and innovative procedures of its time as it can provide significant relief from otherwise debilitating pain, and provide an improved quality of life for those who undergo the surgery.  Thus, it should be no surprise that the use of this procedure has grown in popularity, by quite at astounding rate, since it was first successfully attempted.

Of the 51.4 million surgical procedures performed in 2010, according to the CDC website 332,000 were total hip replacement surgeries and that number has only continued to grow since then.  “Hip replacements are expected to increase 174% in the next 20 years”, reports WebMD.com.  This increase can be attributed to the changing vision of the doctors performing the surgeries.  While this was a procedure once reserved for elderly patients, surgeons are now providing hip replacements for patients as young as 55.  In fact, some have been even younger when undergoing the surgery.

Unfortunately, while this surgery can prove successful for some, reducing pain associated with arthritis or injury, it isn’t the miracle that millions wanted it to be.  In order to understand the malfunctions, one must first grasp the concept.  The hip implants must replace a ball-and-socket joint.  Thus, they are designed, as one might expect, in a fashion that resembles a ball and cup, which fit together just snugly enough to provide stability, while also allowing for freedom of motion.  In many cases, these balls and cups are made of metal.  For elderly patients, who tend to be less mobile to begin with, the metal-on-metal design wasn’t often an issue, but once these replacements were used in the hips of younger patients, they were put through far more rigorous workouts.  The highly mobile, and often athletic, patients put the faux joints through their paces, which resulted in high levels of friction, as the metal components continually rubbed against one another.  This, in turn, led to small metal particulates circulating within the body, and a condition known as metallosis.

This is a rare condition, which has been made less rare by the increased use of hip implants.  The metal particulate was building up in the soft tissue of many patients, resulting in that tissue becoming oxygen-deprived.  Thus, the tissue cells would slowly die away, resulting in severe joint pain, cyst formation, and, in some cases, osteolysis.  This is a form of bone deterioration that occurs around the hip replacement.  Ultimately, many of the hip implants failed and secondary surgeries were required to clean up the mess left behind.

As one might expect, these implant failures cost patients millions of dollars, collectively, as they were forced to receive continued medical care, to cover pain prescription costs, to miss work, and to undergo further surgeries.  As such, many were forced to seek the assistance of personal injury attorneys in St. Petersburg and other cities around the country.  Quite quickly class action lawsuits came together, taking on the large medical replacement manufacturers.

Even with the knowledge of previous failures, surgeons continue to treat patients with hip replacements.  In many cases, new and improved implant options have reduced the chances of failure, but if you find that you are not so fortunate, you should speak to a lawyer in Saint Petersburg.  The manufacturer may be liable for the medical expenses associated with a malfunctioning hip replacement.