Hip replacements are relatively common: according to the National Joint Registry, over 85,000 hip procedures were carried out in England and Wales alone in 2012.
However, in the 50 or so years since the procedure was first developed, the material used in the replacement hips has evolved. In recent years, concerns have grown over some metal on metal hip replacement models.
Potential Problems With Metal on Metal Hip Replacement
While most metal on metal hip replacements work as they are meant to, some have a higher failure rate than others. This results in a number of potential problems, including:
- Metal debris – some hip replacements seem to have a higher level of wear than others. This excessive wear can result in small particles of the metal implant coming off the hip replacement and into the body. Sometimes this can result in discomfort and inflammation
- Increased cobalt levels – these particles are made of the heavy metals - often cobalt or chromium - which are used to make the implant
- Tissue and bone damage – an increase in the amount of heavy metal particles around the hip joint can make the fluids found around the joint quite toxic. This can cause tissue and bone damage
- The implant becomes loose – if the tissue or bone becomes damaged, the implant is more likely to become loose, causing the patient pain, and requiring remedial surgery.
- Pseudo tumours – it appears that, occasionally, non-cancerous tumours can occur as well
- Failure rate – replacements that wear away quickly will need to be replaced more quickly, resulting in more surgery for the patient concerned.
Concerns like these culminated in the recall of the DePuy ASR Acetabular and ASR Hip Resurfacing System hip replacement models in 2010. Other types of metal on metal hip replacement could also be affected.
The medical devices regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), advises that patients with larger types of metal on metal hip replacements should be checked every year, to make sure that everything is still working properly.
Patients who seem to be demonstrating the symptoms of a defective hip replacement, or who are showing a rise in cobalt levels, will usually be offered an MRI or ultrasound scan.
Defective Hip Replacements
To find out more about defective hip replacements, click on the links below, or give us a call on 0800 0891 331. One of our specialist No Win No Fee lawyers will be happy to talk things through with you, free of charge and with no obligation:
Hip Replacement Compensation Claim
If your doctor has contacted you about possible problems with your metal on metal hip replacement, requested that you undergo a revision operation or if you are experiencing discomfort with your metal hip replacement, it is worth getting in touch with one of our compensation lawyers to see if you are entitled to make a claim.
Thompsons Solicitors is a multi-award winning firm of no win no fee compensation lawyers, who will help you get the maximum possible compensation in the shortest possible time.
We are rated number one by legal directory “Legal 500”, which means that we have recognised expertise in compensation law, including hip replacement claims.
If you are not sure whether you have a valid claim for compensation, why not give us a call on 0800 0891 331 and talk things over with one of our experts.
There is no obligation, and we have a no win no fee package available if you wish to take things further.