Hip and joint implant procedures have become very common throughout the United States. A recent large-scale Mayo Clinic study revealed that two out of every 100 Americans now has an artificial joint. For adults over the age of 50, five percent have replaced a knee and more than two percent have had a hip replaced. Altogether, this means there are around seven million people in the United States who are currently living with a replacement joint. Each year, more than 600,000 knees and 400,000 hips are replaced and the number will continue to grow.
However, even as some tout the "success" of hip replacements, there are also very serious risks. The procedures are expensive and the recovery period after surgery is very long. While it can be worth it if the hip improves mobility and reduces pain, thousands of patients have instead experienced a failure of their replacement joint within just five years of the initial procedure. Victims who have suffered harm because of a defective metal-on-metal hip joint need to take legal action. A defective medical device attorney can help.
Hip Implant Risks As the Procedure Becomes More Common
Arthritis and obesity are two driving forces that have resulted in the increase hip and knee implants. Baby boomers who are more active with sports and outdoor activities also put more stress on their joints and wear them down. As a result, knee replacement surgeries have tripled among people age 45-64 in the past decade and almost half of all hip replacement procedures are now performed on people under the age of 50.
Many younger people tried new technologies in the field of joint replacement: metal-on-metal hip joints. While most traditional hip replacements involved the use of ceramic material either in the acetabular cup or in the femoral stem or head, metal-on-metal hip implants avoided the use of ceramic parts. This was supposed to make the hip implants last longer. Instead, the metal-on-metal joints began to wear away and patients experienced metal toxicity and other serious and potentially life-threatening health issues. The high failure rate and serious complications caused Stryker Corp. and other manufacturers of metal-on-metal products including Johnson & Johnson to recall their hip implants from the market.
After a joint replacement procedure, the full recovery process including the healing of the bone and the soft tissue can take a full year. Patients must undergo rest and rehabilitation including physical therapy to strengthen the new joint, the bones and the muscles. The cost of the joint replacement surgery for a replacement hip or knee can also total around $20,000 or more.
All of this recovery time and money is lost when a hip implant fails. In fact, the patient with a failed metal-on-metal hip joint may need to go at least one and possibly more revision surgeries and go through the post-surgical recovery process again after these corrective procedures.
Manufacturers need to pay for the damages when this occurs. Biomet has agreed to pay more than $200,000 each to settle hundreds of cases and Johnson & Johnson paid $2.5 billion to settle 8,000 pending patient lawsuits. Many thousands more cases are still pending as victims of defective hip implants seek to recover money to cover their losses.
A defective medical device attorney can help victims harmed by metal-on-metal hip implants. Contact DeCarlo Law today at 877-572-0065 to schedule a consultation.