Product Liability

The True Costs of Defective Metal on Metal Hips

With news about the risks of metal-on-metal hip replacement and resurfacing implants1 and the complications experienced by metal-on-metal hip implant patients,2 another question looms: How much does a defective metal-on-metal implant ultimately cost?

Base costs of hip replacement surgeries

When a person decides to have hip replacement and/or resurfacing surgery, the procedure is considered the treatment of last resort. The general costs of hip replacement surgery vary and could include fees for:

  • Doctors/surgeons
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Hospital or surgery center
  • Implants
  • Rehabilitation/physical therapy

Student researchers found that a hip replacement procedure can cost a patient from about $11,100 to $125,798 for the initial procedure.3 Costs depend on a number of factors, such as the hospital and implants used. And, the most popular implants used in hip replacement and/or resurfacing surgery are metal-on-metal.

Other considerations

Other than medical considerations, metal-on-metal hip replacement patients are not instantly healed following surgery. There is a significant recovery time for those undergoing partial or total hip replacement. Six to eight weeks is the typical recovery time for total hip replacement surgery.4 During recovery time, doctors are monitoring for blood clots, infection and physical therapy progress.

Complications following surgery

Following metal-on-metal hip replacement or resurfacing surgery, a patient may experience minor problems. Metal-on-metal hip implant failure is common, and in the case of Johnson & Johnson’s Depuy implant, failure rates may be as high as 40 percent. For those patients suffering from metal-on-metal hip implant failure, a number of serious side effects and complications from hip replacements are possible. 5,6

  • Infection
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Heart problems
  • Bone damage
  • Bone loss
  • Soft tissue damage
  • Thyroid problems
  • Auditory and/or visual impairments
  • Neurological problems
  • Cognitive Impairments
  • More surgeries to correct problems
  • Blood contamination (from metal particles)
  • Depression
  • Kidney problems
  • Neck discomfort
  • Skin rashes

Some complications may be resolved over time or with medication, but in extreme cases, the defective implant will require hip replacement revision surgery. These various surgical interventions, which are not limited to hip replacement revision surgery, mean additional costs for the patient.

Litigation and verdicts

With nearly 11,000 lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson, there is another cost of defective hip implants — litigation. Courts across the nation must manage these cases with patients claiming a wide range of defective hip replacement implant related problems, including infections and revision surgery. Just this past March, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $8.3 million in a single hip replacement implant product liability and personal injury matter.2

Over the past five years, five7,8 of the nearly 200 hip replacement implants have been recalled. Patients who decide to undergo hip replacement surgery have a right to safe and effective treatment. Metal-on-metal hip replacement and resurfacing implants are sometimes defective and failure rates can be high. Defective implants result in more than financial loss. Patients experience continuing medical complications and are at risk for more serious medical problems.

Those families affected by defective hip replacement implants should seek the help of an experienced product liability and/or personal injury lawyer.

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