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What happens when a hip replacement fails?

Hip Replacement failure

Hip replacement surgery is among the most common orthopedic procedures in the United States. Most devices are designed to last 20 years. But what happens when a hip replacement fails?

Hip replacements fail for many reasons, such as:

  • Loosening of the stem and cup
  • Failure of the stem
  • Infection of the hip replacement
  • Breakage or wearing out of the implant
  • Damage to the bone surrounding the implant
  • Defective device

Warning Signs of Failing Hip Implants

When a hip replacement device fails, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Pain and discomfort in the hip and groin area, lower back or leg
  • Instability in the hip joint
  • Swelling and inflammation in the hip area
  • Difficulty when standing or walking
  • Decreased flexibility and mobility or range of motion
  • Creaking or squeaky noise in hip joint area
  • Limping
  • Increased pain while performing weight-bearing and/or physical activities
  • Fatigue

When the hip implant device fails, it must be removed and replaced in what is known as a revision surgery. Hip replacement revision surgeries are complicated, painful, expensive and may not be as successful as the first surgery. After a revision surgery, patients tend to recover less overall motion of the joint.

Patients rely on their doctors and physicians to recommend the best medical treatment for their health problems, but sometimes even doctors do not know enough. Sometimes the failed hip replacement device is defective, the result of a design flaw.


How do these devices get approved?

FDAUnfortunately, there is not a rigorous testing process required by the FDA in the approval of medical devices such as hip replacement implants.

Medical devices didn’t come under regulatory control by the FDA until 1976, the agency simply grandfathered in all devices that were already on the market under a provision known as 510(k), which allows manufacturers to sell most new devices without requiring any clinical testing as long as the manufacturer says its product is ‘substantially equivalent’ to an existing device.” 

The FDA uses a risk-based, tiered approach for regulating medical devices, classifying them as either Class I, II or III. The class a medical device is assigned determines the type of premarketing submission/application required for FDA clearance to market.

Moderate risk medical devices are typically cleared for marketing based on an FDA determination that they are substantially equivalent to an already legally marketed device of the same type.


Defective Hip Replacement Lawsuits

There are several hip replacement devices that have been the subject of adverse event reports; some devices have been recalled and taken off the market.

In November 2017, a Texas federal jury reached a unanimous verdict, awarding $247 million dollars to six hip replacement patients who suffered serious injuries from the Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implants manufactured by Johnson & Johnson and DePuy Orthopaedics Inc.

Other manufacturers to be aware of include:


Receive a Free Evaluation from Experienced Attorneys

If you or a family member is suffering adverse effects from a failed hip replacement, contact our legal team in Kansas City. The attorneys at Nash & Franciskato offer a free, no-obligation case review to individuals who have suffered complications allegedly associated with failed metal-on-metal hip implant systems. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Contact us today.


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