Hip Replacement Information

Hip replacements are done for people who have hip damage that causes pain which interferes with daily activities and does not respond to other types of treatment. The conditions that can lead to hip joint damage are:

  • Osteoarthritis (OA) – This is the most common reason for hip replacement surgery. OA is caused by the breakdown of cartilage that is part of the aging process or by damage done to the joint. When the cartilage (the tough rubbery covering on the end of bones) breaks down, the bones rub against each other causing pain.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) – This is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes joint pain, stiffness and swelling. RA is an autoimmune disease, meaning that the body's immune system acts against the body itself, mistakenly seeing its own tissues as foreign. Treatment involves medications, physical therapy and possibly surgery.
  • Osteonecrosis or avascular necrosis – This condition occurs when bone tissue dies because blood has stopped flowing to the area. The cause may be a break or fracture. In many patients, the cause is unknown. A variety of treatments are used including range of motion exercises, pain relieving medication, and limiting use of the affected region. Most patients eventually need surgery, including total joint replacement surgery.
  • Injury or fractures that may require hip replacement surgery.
  • Bone tumors that can cause breakdown of the joint and lead to joint replacement surgery.

Types of Total Hip Replacements

The three basic types of total hip prostheses are:

  • Metal and plastic implant
  • Metal-on-metal implant
  • Ceramic implant

All require the removal of the diseased hip and replacement with artificial parts.

The metal and plastic implant has metal parts to replace the ball and socket portions of the joint, with a plastic insert between. The metal-on-metal implant has metal parts for the ball and socket parts of the joint, but there is no plastic spacer in between. The ceramic-on-ceramic hip replacement uses ceramic parts to replace the ball and socket.

Hip Replacement Problems

More than 231,000 total hip replacements are done annually, records of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons show. Fewer than 10 percent of these operations require hip revision surgery, meaning a second procedure to address problems with the original hip replacement.

The metal-on-metal implants do not wear out as quickly as the metal and plastic implants, but it is not certain if they last longer in the patient. The metal-on-metal implants shed tiny amounts of metal debris that can cause local inflammation or cause problems with migration to other parts of the body.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has required manufactures of metal-on-metal hip implants to study the effects of the metal debris in patients.

The ceramic implants, which are both smooth and hard, seem to have an advantage in terms of longevity, except in cases of what is called catastrophic failure. The latter occurs when the prosthesis suddenly breaks within the body because of the brittleness of the ceramic material.

Ceramic implants are the most recent type of hip implants being used. Therefore, long-term data regarding their efficacy are lacking compared to information about metal and plastic or metal-on-metal implants.

Find a Hip Replacement Lawyer

If you are among the approximate 10 percent of patients needing hip revision surgery, you know about the pain, suffering and expense of needing surgery to remove your original implant and replace it. Plus, the revised hip often does not work as well as the original hip implant.

You should contact a hip replacement lawyer as soon as possible to discuss the possibility of being compensated for your pain, suffering, loss of work and more. Our defective hip implant lawyers offer free case reviews for people who require a second surgery due to a failed hip implant.

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