Hip replacement surgery is a common treatment for problems caused by an injury or a chronic condition like arthritis. Patients may undergo partial or total hip replacement with a device made of some combination of plastic, ceramic and/or metal. Metal-on-metal hip replacements can cause adverse side effects. If you suffer an injury as a result of a metal-on-metal hip replacement, you may be entitled to legal compensation.
Regulation of hip replacement devices
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves all hip replacement devices for public use. There are different approval processes available to manufacturers. The FDA 510(k) program1 is an approval process that allows companies to submit their products without conducting the rigorous tests required by a full premarket approval. Whichever approval process the manufacturer uses, however, you may be able to file a lawsuit if you suffer an injury from a metal-on-metal hip replacement.
Risks of metal-on-metal hip replacements
There are a number of risks, including dislocation and wear, common to all hip replacement devices. There is, however, one unique risk for metal-on-metal hip replacement patients. Metal particles or ions can rub off the parts of the device. These particles can then enter the patient’s blood stream and lead to metallosis,2 which is a type of blood poisoning. Metallosis can have a number of side effects, including:
- Severe pain in the joint
- Implant failure
- Implant loosening
- Necrosis (where the tissue around the implant dies)
- Deterioration of the bone around the joint
- Formation of cysts
These side effects require further treatment, which can be both painful and expensive. A personal injury lawsuit may help recover these costs.
How an attorney can help you file a lawsuit
An attorney can help you establish whether you may be able to file a claim for a metal-on-metal hip implant injury. Lawsuits for these injuries can sometimes result in substantial compensation, although individual circumstances and cases vary. A competent attorney can help you understand how much compensation you may be entitled to, and will help ensure the best chance of success. He or she can provide guidance on the steps that you need to follow throughout the legal process.
Device manufacturers must ensure that hip replacement devices are safe to use, and that they warn consumers about any potential risks. If manufacturers fail to live up to these obligations, then patients may be able to file a lawsuit and make a claim for compensation. Patients can suffer significant pain and inconvenience due to metal-on-metal hip implants. This may be because their individual device is faulty, or because the FDA recalls the whole batch. Litigation can help address this problem.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury from a metal-on-metal hip implant, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. He or she may be able to help you file a claim.