patient-protection_hip-replacement-claims

Most hip operations are carried out successfully and vastly improve the lives and mobility of those who undergo them. When things go wrong, however, either with the surgery or the replacement parts, there can be endless, unnecessary suffering and sometimes the need for further, corrective surgery.

If you feel that you or a loved one have suffered from hip replacement surgery that has gone wrong, then let us help you.

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Types of hip replacement claims
Early failure of metal-on-metal hip replacements and resurfacings
  • DePuy ASR

Patient Protection has acted for hundreds of patients who have suffered the early failure of these DePuy metal-on-metal hip replacements and resurfacings.  Our team are leading experts in the medical and technical aspects of the claims.

  • Incorrect component sizing
    • Premature failure of hip replacements can be due to a mismatch in parts,
    • eg: the femoral head (the ball) of a hip replacement being too large for the cup. 
  • Metal-on-ceramic
    • A combination of metal femoral heads against ceramic sockets should never be used and leads to very rapid wear of the metal heads, causing damage to tissues around the joint and the need for further surgery.
  • Fractured stem
    • Mistakes can happen in the manufacturing process which cause weakness in the replacement parts used. We have acted for patients whose femoral stem (the shaft in the thigh bone) snapped after five years of use.  This happened because the serial number of the product had been marked by laser in a high-stress area, greatly weakening the stem.   This was a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
  • Mismatched metal heads and stems
    • Hip replacements should last for 20 years or more. Mismatching metal heads and stems from different manufacturing companies can cause early failure and mean patients need to undergo additional surgery. 
  • Negligent response to infection
    • If infections are not diagnosed and dealt with quickly enough after a hip replacement operation the joint can fail, leading to further surgery and a very poor outcome for the patient. 
  • Lost trial head
    • During hip replacement surgery, a surgeon dropped the plastic ‘trial head’ inside the patient and could not retrieve it.  The patient has had to undergo further surgery to remove it.
  • Steeply fitted sockets
    • If sockets are fitted much too steeply this can lead to early failure of the joint and damage to surrounding muscle and bone.
  • Delayed diagnosis of hip dysplasia
    • This condition is a malformation of the natural hip socket and is quite common, particularly among young girls.  If diagnosis is missed during childhood early arthritis can develop leading to a need for a hip replacement.
  • Poorly fitted and incorrectly sized femoral stem
    • Femoral stems must match femurs and be fitted at the correct angle. If not, the stem can sink into the femur, shortening the leg and meaning that a patient will need corrective surgery.
  • Metal hip with kidney failure
    • Good kidney function is essential for patients needing metal-on-metal hip resurfacing as wear debris from a metal joint needs to be excreted. Failure to take kidney function into account can result in blood metal ion levels rising quickly and the joint failing.
  • Badly positioned femoral head
    • If a resurfacing head is fitted poorly, the femur (thigh bone) can fracture, leading to further, revision surgery. 
  • In-patient disassembly of components
    • Hip replacement parts should work in harmony with themselves and within the patient. Faulty components can disassemble (fall apart),
      • eg: If the polyethylene liner of the socket falls out of the metal shell in which it sits, the ceramic head will then rub against the metal shell.  Due to the ceramic being much harder than the metal, the head can bore a very large hole right through the shell.  The result will be very significant damage to the surrounding tissues, further surgery and multiple dislocations.
  • Leg length discrepancy
    • If incorrect measurements are taken, patients can be left with legs of significantly different lengths post hip surgery. This causes problems with walking, and can lead to back pain and the need for special orthotics or further, remedial surgery. 
  • Failure to diagnose fractured hip
    • Early detection of a fractured hip is key to repairing the damage and allowing recovery. If a fractured hip is misdiagnosed as only bruising and X-rays not taken, then, over time, the injury can worsen leading to a total hip replacement instead of a relatively simple repair with a screw.
  • Slipped Upper Femoral  Epiphysis
    • This is a condition, common in teenage boys, in which the head of the femur can slip off the shaft of the bone. If recognised early, it can be treated with a small screw, fitted by keyhole surgery.  If left undiagnosed, the blood supply to the femoral head can fail, leading to the need for hip resurfacing or replacement.

 

If you feel that you or a loved one have suffered due to complications following a hip replacement operation, then let us help you.