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Advancing age, obesity, and other common problems can cause wear to the ball and socket joint of the hip that can lead to pain, stiffness, and difficulty walking. While some people find relief through traditional, non-surgical therapies, many others are required to undergo a hip replacement to find relief. Unfortunately, for all of the benefits that these hip replacements offer, there are some extreme risks as well, and patients have filed lawsuits against the manufacturers of hip replacement devices over product defects or the failure to warn consumers of the potential health risks that these devices pose.

Manufacturers and distributors of health devices including hip implants have the legal responsibility to ensure that their products are safe for use and that the users of these devices and the doctors who provide them are fully aware of the potential risks. Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman have participated in multi-district litigation product liability cases and have helped many individuals recover damages from negligent manufacturers through personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits.

About Hip Replacement

The hip is one of the largest joints in the body. This ball-and-socket joint is made up of the acetabulum, which is part of the pelvis bone, and the femoral head, which is the upper part of the large bone of the thigh, called the femur. The surfaces of both the ball and socket are covered in smooth cartilage tissue that allows the joint to move smoothly.

There is also a thin tissue called the synovial membrane that produces a small amount of liquid in a healthy hip, to lubricate the cartilage and prevent any friction from occurring during hip movement.

Some of the most common conditions that result in the need for a hip replacement include:

  • Osteoarthritis: This condition refers to age-related wear and tear of the joint and is most commonly seen in individuals over the age of 50. However, younger people can suffer from osteoarthritis as well. Osteoarthritis is the result of a wearing away of the cartilage cushion between the ball and socket. The friction of the bones rubbing together leads to pain and stiffness.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: This autoimmune disease causes the synovial membrane to become thickened and irritated, resulting in pain and stiffness as the cartilage becomes damaged by chronic inflammation of the membrane.
  • Post-traumatic arthritis: This is the result of trauma to the joint, such as a hip fracture that results in damage to the cartilage.
  • Osteonecrosis: This condition results from damage to the hip that limits the blood supply to the femoral head (the ball in the ball and socket joint). The lack of blood causes the surface of the bone to collapse.

In a total hip replacement, the damaged femoral head is removed and a metal stem is placed in the hollow center of the femur, either cemented or press-fitted into place. A metal or ceramic ball is placed at the top of the stem to serve as the joint. The damaged cartilage socket is also removed, and replaced with a metal socket that is cemented or screwed into place. A plastic, metal, or ceramic spacer is included to allow for a smooth gliding surface between the new ball and socket.

There are several different types of hip implant systems, such as:

  • Metal-on-polyethylene: The ball is made of metal and the socket is made of plastic or has a plastic lining.
  • Ceramic-on-polyethylene: The ball is made of ceramic and the socket is made of plastic or has a plastic lining.
  • Ceramic-on-ceramic: The ball is made of ceramic and the socket has a ceramic lining.
  • Ceramic-on-metal: The ball is made of ceramic and the socket has a metal lining.

Formerly, another type of hip implant system was also available in the U.S. Metal-on-metal hip implant systems featured a metal ball and a socket that was metal-lined.

This system offered benefits that made it the implant of choice for many patients and their physicians, including:

  • Less chance of dislocation when the ball slips out of the socket.
  • Decreased chance of fracturing the device.

In February 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began requiring manufacturers to submit premarket approval of a couple of different types of metal-on-metal implant systems, including semi-constrained implants with either cemented or uncemented acetabular components.

Premarket approval requires a process of scientific and regulatory review to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of Class III medical devices, which support or sustain human life or prevent the impairment of human health. Currently, there are no metal-on-metal total hip replacement devices that have passed this premarket review process.

Hip Replacement Lawsuit

If you suffered an injury due to a defective hip replacement device, contact the product liability attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman to learn more about your legal options.

The Risks of Metal-on-Metal Implants

All hip implants carry certain risks, including infection, loosening, bone loss, device or bone fracture, and joint dislocation.

However, metal-on-metal implants carry additional risks, including:

  • Metal particles that can break free from the device and cause issues such as a reaction around the joint that results in deterioration of tissue, as well as loosening and failure of the device.
  • Metal particles from the device entering the bloodstream, leading to potentially serious issues. These issues can range from a skin rash to impairment of the heart and other bodily organs.

Those at most risk of developing complications from a metal-on-metal device include:

  • Patients with hip implants on both the right and left hip.
  • Female patients.
  • Those who receive high doses of corticosteroids.
  • Patients with existing renal problems.
  • Patients whose devices are placed in the wrong positions.
  • Patients who have a sensitivity to various types of metal, including cobalt, chromium, or nickel.
  • Patients who exhibit a high level of physical activity.
  • Patients who are severely overweight.

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Litigation Against Specific Manufacturers

More than $7.5 billion has been spent by hip implant manufacturers since the early 2000s to settle lawsuits. Though most of the metal-on-metal implant lawsuits have been resolved over the years, in one recent year, it was estimated that around 14,000 of these suits remained, along with other hip implant suits. While some of the metal-on-metal implants have been recalled, many were simply removed from the market in 2016. One of those implant models, the Pinnacle offered by DePuy, was never recalled. However, it is the subject of a large number of the lawsuits that patients have filed on the matter.

Specific manufacturers and implant models that have been included in lawsuits across the U.S. include:

  • DePuy Orthopaedics: Pinnacle Hip Replacement, which has been the subject of more than 10,000 lawsuits with more than $700 million already received in settlements and awards; ASR Hip Replacements, with more than 10,000 lawsuits and more than $4 billion received in settlements and awards.
  • Smith & Nephew: BHR and R3 Hip Implants, more than 600 lawsuits filed. In 2019, the first of those lawsuits were for groups in multidistrict litigation, with results pending.
  • Stryker: LFIT V40 Femoral Head, more than 700 lawsuits were filed with a confidential settlement offered in 2018; Rejuvenate and ABG II, more than 3,000 lawsuits filed with many still pending, settlements of over $1.4 billion as of 2019; Tritanium Acetabular Shells, firms evaluating cases pending.
  • Zimmer: Durom Cup, a $314 million settlement offer was accepted in 2016, but the multidistrict litigation remained active; Zimmer M/L Taper Hip Prosthesis with Versys Femoral Head, more than 100 lawsuits and multidistrict litigation formed in 2018.
  • Biomet (who merged with Zimmer in 2015): M2a Magnum Hip Replacement, settled more than 2,800 lawsuits between 2013 and 2015 for $89.4 million.
  • Wright Medical: Conserve, Dynasty, and Lineage replacements and related components, settled more than 600 lawsuits between 2016 and 2017 for $330 million. The company no longer manufactures hip replacements and the court has disallowed the filing of any new lawsuits pertaining to its products.

While no new lawsuits are permitted for devices that were manufactured by Wright, multidistrict litigation still remains active for most of the other manufacturers.

Some of the general criteria to be eligible to join multidistrict litigation include:

  • You had a hip replacement involving one of the types of implants that are the subject of current multidistrict litigation activity.
  • You experienced complications following your hip replacement, such as loosening of the device, dislocation, or damage to bodily organs due to the metal that was used in the device.
  • You received your hip implant or began experiencing complications from the device within the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit in your state.
  • Your complications required further treatment to repair damage resulting from a failed hip replacement, such as revision surgery.

While these are just a few of the potential requirements to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of your hip implant, your attorney would need a lot more information. In addition to the manufacturer of the implant, your attorney would be looking carefully at your case to determine other sources of liability.

Many hip replacement lawsuits involve not only product liability, but also medical malpractice. That refers to negligence on the part of the physician, surgeon, or medical center where you received your implant.

Frequently, the issues that give rise to medical malpractice include:

  • Failure to warn patients of the known risks associated with the surgery during which the device was placed or the risks associated with the device itself.
  • Providing an implant in a person whose medical history indicates there will be severe issues with the device. For example, placing a metal-on-metal device in a patient who is a female in childbearing years with a history of renal problems.
  • Surgical errors related to the placement of the device.
  • Failure of medical personnel to properly monitor the patient for complications before discharge or failure to provide adequate after-care, including monitoring potential issues with the device during and after recovery.

Some of the damages that may be recovered through a hip replacement lawsuit include:

  • The cost of treating and repairing the damage caused by the device.
  • Loss of wages due to being too injured or ill to work as a result of a faulty hip replacement device.
  • Loss of future earning capacity, if the complications caused by the device result in permanent disability.
  • Non-economic impacts on the patient’s life as a result of a faulty device, such as physical pain and suffering and emotional distress.

The FDA Takes Action on Certain Hip Implants

The FDA has taken actions against certain hip implants, including metal-on-metal total hip replacements.

Those actions are:

  • In May 2011, orders were issued by the FDA requiring the manufacturers of metal-on-metal total hip replacements to conduct a postmarket surveillance study on the implants. These orders affected five makers of hip implants in the U.S., with the postmarket surveillance studies including a clinical study of the patients’ ion levels and health outcomes following placement of the implant, as well as detailed explant analysis results for more than 2,000 metal-on-metal devices that failed in an attempt to discover the causes of those failures.
  • Participation in a worldwide effort to develop international standards for the hip replacement surgery and use of implant devices, taking into consideration the causes of failure that were revealed in the explant analysis.
  • Participation with researchers to support technology around new metal-on-metal devices that can provide the benefits of the medium while posing fewer risks to consumers.
  • In 2013, the FDA proposed that companies manufacturing metal-on-metal hip plants go from being required to provide premarket notification to being required to apply for premarket approval before making their products available in the United States. Premarket approval is the most stringent approval process required for medical devices.
  • In 2016, the FDA approved its recommendation for premarket approval of all metal-on-metal total hip implants. The requirement forced all companies offering this type of implant to take the products in question off the market until they could undergo the premarket approval process and demonstrate that there was sufficient scientific evidence to ensure the product’s safety and effectiveness when used as intended.

Medical Complications Associated with Hip Implants

As previously stated, all hip implants pose a risk of certain conditions. However, metal-on-metal devices can cause additional complications as a result of metal particles being released into the bloodstream and traveling through the body’s organs. Below are some of the common complications associated with hip implant devices.

Metallosis From Metal-on-Metal Devices

Metallosis is described as blood poisoning as a result of a buildup of toxic metals in the body as a result of a metal-on-metal joint replacement device such as a hip implant. These devices are generally made with a blend of metals such as chromium, cobalt, nickel, titanium, and molybdenum. The particles of metal are shed into the tissues surrounding the implant when the metal pieces rub against one another. These metal ions then build up in bone, muscle, and other surrounding tissues. As the particles enter the bloodstream, they cause further damage to the heart, kidney, and other organs.

Local signs of metallosis include:

  • Pain in the groin or hip area.
  • Numbness.
  • Swelling.
  • Difficulty walking.

The treatment for metallosis almost always involves surgery to remove and replace the implant.

Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle that makes it harder for the heart to pump blood. If left untreated, cardiomyopathy can cause heart failure. Cardiomyopathy can be caused by metallosis after exposure to cobalt.

Symptoms of the condition include:

  • Breathlessness both in exertion and at rest.
  • Swelling of the legs, ankles, and feet.
  • Fluid buildup resulting in swelling of the abdomen.
  • Fatigue.
  • Coughing while lying down.
  • Rapid, pounding, or fluttering heartbeats.
  • Pressure or discomfort in the chest.
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting.

In addition to heart failure, other complications that can result from cardiomyopathy caused by metallosis are:

  • Blood clots due to the heart’s inability to pump blood effectively.
  • Valve problems, such as valves that do not close properly as a result of heart enlargement, causing the blood to flow backward.
  • Cardiac arrest or sudden death caused by reductions in the ability of the heart to pump blood effectively.

Nerve Problems

Metallosis is also associated with a nerve condition called polyneuropathy. Polyneuropathy affects the peripheral nerves, which run throughout the body, preventing these nerves from sending messages to the brain.

Some of the symptoms of polyneuropathy are:

  • Random, odd sensations in the body known as paresthesia.
  • Sudden, sharp sensations.
  • Burning or tingling, especially in the feet and hands.
  • A sensation on the skin that causes it to be extremely sensitive to touch.
  • Numbness.
  • Weakness in the arms or legs.
  • Inability to walk straight, often leading to stumbling or falling.
  • Difficulty swallowing.

Patients who are suffering polyneuropathy after undergoing a hip replacement are urged to seek medical help as soon as possible to lessen the severity and the duration of nerve damage.

Thyroid Problems

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the lower front portion of the neck. The thyroid makes a hormone that assists the body in using energy, regulating body temperature, and keeping the heart, brain, and other organs working as they should. Metallosis can damage the thyroid, leading to hyperthyroidism. This condition stops the body from producing enough thyroid hormones to keep the body’s systems running effectively.

Some of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

  • The inability to feel warm.
  • Fatigue.
  • Dry skin.
  • Memory loss.
  • Depression.
  • Constipation.

There is no cure for hypothyroidism. It can, however, be treated and controlled through medication that replaces the amount of hormone that the thyroid can no longer make on its own.

Neurological Changes, Including Changes to Hearing or Vision

Metallosis due to high chromium and cobalt levels in the blood can also lead to neurological changes, including:

  • Structural changes to the visual neurological pathways, including optic nerve atrophy.
  • Hearing loss or tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
  • Convulsions.
  • Vertigo.
  • Headaches.
  • Tremors.
  • Short-term memory deficit.
  • Disorientation in place.
  • Difficulties with concentration and word finding.
  • Depression.
  • Early onset dementia.

Problems with Kidney Function

Metal ions found in metallosis cases can also cause impairment to functional kidneys. When the ions arrive at the kidneys, an oxidative reaction occurs, stopping the kidneys from purifying the blood and removing toxins as they normally do. This can cause renal failure.

The symptoms of renal failure include:

  • Swelling of the hands, feet, and face.
  • Internal bleeding.
  • Confusion.
  • Seizures.
  • Coma.
  • Abnormal blood and urine tests.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Weight loss for no reason.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Metallic taste in your mouth.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Pain in the chest.
  • Numbness and tingling.
  • Easy bruising.
  • Itching.
  • Muscle twitches and cramps.
  • Bones that are weak and fracture easily.
  • Yellow-brown skin color.
  • Trouble sleeping.

Kidney failure is most discovered by testing the creatinine levels in the body. A normal kidney will remove this muscle-produced molecule and deposit it in the urine. However, if the kidney is not functioning properly, there are higher creatinine levels found in the blood. Treatment options for kidney failure include dialysis, where the blood is pumped through a machine that cleans it and then returns it to the body, and a kidney transplant.

Other Common Problems With Hip Implants

While metallosis is a disease that occurs due to toxic metal particles being sloughed off of the device through wear, and accumulation in the bloodstream and body organs after implanting a metal hip device, hip implants also cause other adverse health conditions, such as:

Dislocation. Hip dislocation following the placement of an implant is a relatively common condition, occurring in up to 4 percent of primary hip replacement surgeries and up to 10 percent of revision surgeries. This condition most frequently occurs within the first six to eight weeks after surgery, while the soft tissues are still healing. However, a dislocation can occur any time after the surgery, even if the patient has been using the new hip for years.

Hip replacements are most likely to occur in patients who:

  • Are of an advanced age, which is 75 years or older when the surgery takes place.
  • Are female. Elderly women are at the greatest risk of suffering a dislocation after hip replacement surgery.
  • Have pre-existing cognitive function issues, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia.
  • Have a history of alcohol or drug abuse.
  • Have a neuromuscular disease such as Parkinson’s.
  • Have certain underlying diseases such as avascular necrosis.

The surgical approach in which the implant is placed can also affect the likelihood of a dislocated hip implant. While the posterior (rear) approach to placing the implant is the easiest and most popular, this approach leads to a greater risk of dislocation due to the requirement that the posterior tendons be cut, providing less stability for the implant.

A dislocated implant does not always require additional surgery. For some patients, the hip merely needs to be popped back into place and restrained there until the soft tissues have had a greater chance to heal. However, for others—even in the early stages of hip location—surgery is required due to poor initial positioning of the device.

Infection. Approximately 1 percent of individuals receiving hip replacement surgery will acquire an infection. Infections are caused by bacteria. While bacteria are prevalent in the body, the body’s immune system generally keeps it in check. However, it is difficult for the immune system to fight off bacteria that has found its way to the metal or plastic joint system. Often, once the bacteria is allowed to grow on the implant, it is not responsive to antibiotic treatment and a second surgery may be required to clean or remove the infected tissue.

The symptoms of infection following hip replacement include:

  • Increased pain or stiffness around a previously well functioning joint replacement.
  • Swelling.
  • Warmth and redness around the surgical wound.
  • Wound drainage.
  • Fevers, chills, and night sweats.
  • Fatigue.

When IV antibiotics are not effective in treating the infection, one surgical option is debridement, which is a surgical washout of the infected area, replacement of plastic device liners, and removal of dead soft tissue from the area. In infections that occur months or years after the replacement surgery took place, staged surgery is almost always required.

Staged surgery includes the following steps:

  • Removal of the implant.
  • Washout of the joint and infected tissues.
  • Placement of an antibiotic spacer.
  • IV antibiotics.

Spacers are made of antibiotic-laced bone cement that allows blood flow to the joint, and helps eliminate the infection over time. Patients receiving staged surgery for a post-implant infection usually must continue IV antibiotics for about six weeks before a new device is implanted.

Nerve damage. Previously, it was believed that nerve damage experienced by some patients after hip replacement surgery was a result of the positioning of the patient during surgery or direct surgical injury from the procedure. However, researchers have discovered that many cases of nerve damage after this type of surgery is the result of inflammatory neuropathy. Neuropathy is damage to the peripheral nerves in the body that leads to symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and pain that begins in the feet and surges upward.

Inflammatory neuropathy does not occur immediately after the surgery. This type of neuropathy presents with symptoms such as:

  • Neuropathy that develops and worsens over time.
  • Severe pain.
  • A different anatomical presentation than expected.

Loosening. The loosening of the implanted device is a common consequence of a hip replacement. Often, surgery is required to repair the condition and, in some cases, a replacement device is required. While hip replacements should last 20 to 25 years, many individuals find that their replacement is worn out a lot sooner than that. Occasionally, hip replacements fail almost immediately after surgery.

A person’s age, gender, weight, and level of physical activity can all affect how long the procedure lasts.

A study found that the most likely causes of premature loosening include:

  • The patient is female. The anatomical differences between men and women place women at higher risk of loosening devices.
  • The patient is under 60. The risk of having a device prematurely loosen actually decreases as time goes on, likely due to a reduction in physical activity as the person ages.
  • People with a body mass index over 25. The risk of hip replacement loosening increases by three percent with each body mass index unit over 25, as additional body mass places pressure on the device.

The risk of having a negative outcome to a hip replacement procedure increases dramatically if the person requires revision surgery to reposition, repair, or replace the device. After revision surgery, the patient can have less range of motion and increased wear to the bone site. This is because the additional surgery can cause the newly implanted device to have a reduced expectancy of effectiveness.

How Do You Know if Your Complications Qualify You for a Lawsuit?

Hip replacement surgery has many known complications and consequences that your doctor should have made you aware of before the procedure. To prove that your complications were the result of a defective implant device or medical malpractice, you must show that the complications occurred as a result of a product defect, such as the shedding of metal particles due to wear, or a medical error that caused you to receive substandard care.

An experienced hip replacement lawyer can look at the details of your case to determine if these factors are true and can help you understand your legal options based on the unique details of your case. Consultations are free, and you are under no obligation to hire the attorney or to take legal action in your case. Talk to the dedicated attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman about your hip replacement complications by contacting us.

Frequently Asked Questions About Hip Replacement Lawsuits

If you have suffered a complication as the result of a defective hip implant or a medical error, you likely have a lot of questions about the process of obtaining compensation to help with the financial and emotional impacts of your injury.

Here are the answers to some of the questions most frequently asked by hip replacement clients.

What is the best hip replacement material to use to avoid complications?

The answer to that question depends on your own medical history and expectations for what the replacement will allow you to do.

When choosing a type of implant, ask:

  • Which implant your doctor has the most experience working with. Familiarity with the product can help reduce some of the common complications resulting from improper positioning of the device, premature loosening, and dislocation.
  • How to avoid particulate matter shedding from the device during normal use. Metal-on-metal implants are not currently being offered in the U.S. due to an increased risk of metallosis caused by metal particles from the device entering the bloodstream and causing damage to organs and body functions. Metal-on-polyethylene devices also have a high risk of particle spread, including both metal and plastic particles. Metal-on-ceramic devices also contain a risk of metal particles, though ceramic is a highly effective material not known to cause particulate matter to slough off the device and damage nearby tissues or bodily organs.

How long do I have to file a lawsuit in my hip replacement case?

Product liability and medical malpractice cases are both within the vast umbrella of personal injury law. The time limit you have to file a legal claim in a personal injury case depends on the statute of limitations for such claims in your state. For example, in Florida, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is four years from the date in which the injury occurred—which would be the date of surgery—or four years from the date on which you noticed or were diagnosed with the failed hip implant. Your attorney can advise you if there are complicating factors in your case that could extend this statute of limitations.

Who is liable for my hip replacement complications?

Hip replacement surgery is commonly associated with complications for which there is no liability. It is just a risk of the surgery that has the potential to occur regardless of the quality of care you received or the device that was used. However, many complications are caused by negligence either on the part of the manufacturer of the hip implant device, for creating a defective device or failing to properly warn physicians and consumers of the risks, or by doctors and other healthcare providers who fail to provide a standard level of care during the pre-operative, operative, and postoperative phases of your treatment.

Why are hip replacement complications more prevalent in women?

Studies have indicated that women have a 29 percent higher risk of complications resulting from hip replacement than men do.

Some of the reasons for this include:

  • Women have a longer life expectancy than men, meaning that the hip replacement will likely be present for a longer time.
  • Women’s bones tend to be smaller, and the implanted device is required to be smaller or thinner as well, giving rise to a higher chance of the device or the bone that the device attaches to fracturing. For example, the femoral head in a woman’s hip is 20 percent smaller than that of a man.
  • Women are far more likely to develop inflammatory arthritis and other conditions resulting from the hip replacement than men are.
  • The way that men and women move after surgery and the level of pain that they can tolerate with that movement is very different. Women can often withstand a higher level of pain with movement and to move in ways that affect the device more deeply.

What are the signs of metallosis and how do I know if I have it?

Metallosis is a dangerous condition that results from tiny particles of metal that slough off of metal devices during normal wear and cause damage to surrounding organs. These metal particles can also enter the bloodstream and cause damage to other bodily organs. Local symptoms of metallosis include pain in the groin, hip, or thigh; numbness; weakness of the affected joint; and difficulty walking. More severe symptoms also include anxiety, headaches, heart irregularities, shortness of breath, and vertigo.

If the metal particles enter the bloodstream and impact other organs, symptoms include:

  • Cardiomyopathy, in which the heart can’t pump blood effectively. This condition can ultimately lead to heart failure.
  • Depression and other mental health problems.
  • Visual impairment caused by the metal’s effect on the optic nerve, which can lead to blindness.
  • Cognitive impairment.
  • Nerve issues, including inflammatory neuropathy.
  • Thyroid problems, including hypothyroidism, in which the body cannot produce the hormones necessary for functions that include energy, temperature control, and the ability of the body to process nutrients.
  • Auditory issues, including tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and complete loss of hearing.
  • Skin rashes.
  • Premature loosening of the implant as a result of bone loss resulting from metal exposure.

Metallosis is often diagnosed through diagnostic imaging tests of the soft tissues surrounding the implant as well as metal ion testing that is used to detect various metals in the bloodstream, including cobalt, chromium, molybdenum, and titanium, which are all metals that are included in the metal-on-metal hip implants.

What damages can I recover in a hip replacement lawsuit?

Some of the damages that are commonly claimed in this type of lawsuit include:

  • Medical expenses resulting from revision surgery or other treatment provided to alleviate the condition caused by the device.
  • Loss of income because you physically can’t work due to hip replacement complications.
  • Loss of future earning capacity if the complications from your hip replacement surgery result in a permanent disability that renders you unable to work.
  • Physical pain and suffering as a result of the complications caused by the hip implant.
  • Emotional distress resulting from hip replacement failure.
  • Loss of consortium, which is damage claimed on behalf of the injured person’s spouse due to loss of physical intimacy and companionship that is commonly suffered after hip replacement complications.
  • The cost of hiring someone to perform personal and household services that the injured person can no longer do themselves as a result of the complications.

Will metal-on-metal hip replacements be available again in the U.S.?

In May 2016, the FDA announced a final order that would require any proposed metal-on-metal hip replacement devices to obtain premarket approval for use in the U.S. Before that time, the FDA had recalled many of these metal-on-metal total hip replacement devices, and the order effectively took many others off of the market until premarket approval.

Premarket approval consists of several tests that must be performed, proving both the safety and effectiveness of the device as well as the complications that can be experienced through the implantation of the device.

To date, no manufacturer has undergone the premarket approval process to make the device available in the U.S. However, the FDA has expressed that it is open to allowing these devices if they pass through the approval process.

There have been a lot of settlements in hip replacement lawsuits. Is it still possible to file a claim?

Yes. While settlements in multidistrict litigation cases involved hip replacements, many ongoing multidistrict suits are still accepting cases and patients continue to file cases in districts across the nation.

How do I tell if my hip replacement is failing?

The most common symptoms of hip replacement failure include pain in the hip, thigh, or groin area, as well as a loss in the range of motion provided in the affected hip.

However, other signs of failure can include:

  • Swelling in the hip area or lumps in the hip.
  • A squeaking noise from the device when you walk.
  • Warmth around the joint.
  • Signs of infection, including fever and fatigue.
  • The presence of metal ions in the bloodstream.

What hip replacements have the FDA recalled?

Generally, companies facing recall choose to pull their products off the shelves voluntarily instead of forcing the FDA to afford the expense of the recall.

Several major hip implant recalls have taken place in the U.S., including:

  • DuPuy’s ASR Acetabular & Resurfacing System.
  • Stryker’s Rejuvenate and AGB II Hip implant.
  • Smith & Nephew’s R3 Acetabular, Modular SMF, and Modular Redapt Femoral Hip Systems.
  • Wright’s Conserve Plus and Profemur Z Hip Stem.
  • Zimmer’s Durom Acetabular Component.

What causes a company to recall its hip implant devices?

There are many reasons that a company can choose to recall hip implant devices.

Some of the reasons commonly cited in hip implant recalls include:

  • Labeling issues: The company failed to provide the proper instructions or warnings to physicians and consumers on the package label, leaving them open to liability if the product is used improperly or provides unexpected consequences.
  • Product defects: The company discovered through consumer complaints that the product failed to work properly and safely, even when all directions for its implantation and use were followed.
  • Design flaws: Complications from the implanted device were discovered to be a result of how the product was designed.
  • Packaging issues: The packaging used to ship and store the product was defective, leading to issues with the implant itself.

How do I know the brand of my hip implant? Why is this information important?

Your doctor will know the brand of implant you received. He or she should have given you this information before the procedure took place. However, if that did not happen, you can obtain the information by calling the doctor or obtaining your medical records.

Do I need an attorney to file a hip replacement lawsuit?

Yes, you absolutely need an attorney to recover damages through a personal injury lawsuit. It is important to find an attorney who has experience with this type of case, as well as with multi-district litigation, which occurs when many cases with similar claims are temporarily combined for the pre-trial phases to relieve the burden placed on federal courts.

Your attorney can assist you in your ability to recover damages with:

  • A thorough examination of your case to identify all liable parties and sources of insurance that can be used to compensate you.
  • Guidance as to your legal options, based on the unique fact of your case.
  • Filing of your case in the proper jurisdiction within the time limit provided to make such claims.
  • The collection and organization that will help you prove your claim. Because hip replacement surgery carries its own risks that aren’t always the result of negligence, your attorney will assist you in producing the type of information you need to show that your complications were the result of a defective device or a medical error.
  • A network of experts including medical professionals who can offer testimony and information supporting your claim.
  • Skilled and aggressive negotiation with the at-fault party’s insurance providers in an attempt to obtain a fair settlement on your behalf.
  • Information regarding the potential benefits and risks involved in accepting an offered settlement.
  • In lieu of a fair settlement, litigation, including the preparation and delivery of opening and closing remarks, the presentation of evidence, and the examination of witnesses.
  • Assistance with collecting your award or settlement.
  • Further representation of your case if the at-fault party appeals the judgment rendered by the court.

Contact us today for a free case evaluation with Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman’s hip replacement attorneys.

What to Do if You Have Suffered a Hip Replacement Complication

If you have been diagnosed with a complication from your hip replacement or you think your hip replacement is failing, there are some important steps you need to take to ensure that the complications don’t worsen and that you retain your right to claim compensation from those liable for your complication.

Read on for more information about what to do if you have suffered a hip replacement complication.

Let Your Doctor Know

After your hip replacement surgery, you will be required to have several post-operative followups. These followup appointments are generally scheduled four to six weeks after surgery, three to six months post-surgery, at your year anniversary of the surgery, and annually after that. Images of your hip replacement will be taken via X-ray, usually the week after surgery, and again at your annual checkups.

Be sure to let your doctor know immediately if you have any concerns about your recovery or the functionality of your device. Write down any symptoms of a device failure that you experience as well as what you did when the symptom occurred and take that information with you to your appointment.

When you report potential complications to your doctor, he or she will likely have you undergo some tests to determine the complications you have. These tests can include diagnostic scans. Depending on what type of hip replacement device you received, your doctor may also request blood work to determine if there are metal ions in your bloodstream as well as to check for other potential damage to your body’s organs and systems.

If your hip implant has loosened, you have suffered a dislocation, or you have acquired an infection, one of the options your doctor may talk to you about is revision surgery. Hip revision surgery is a procedure that is used to repair a damaged hip implant or to remove the implant and place a new one. The main benefit of hip revision surgery for most patients is to relieve the pain of a loosened, poorly placed, or malfunctioning artificial hip. However, the surgery is also sometimes used to preserve as much bone and tissue as possible after an infection has occurred or to relieve symptoms related to metallosis from the materials in the implant.

Keep in mind that hip revision surgeries pose all of the same risks of surgical complications as the initial implant surgery did, such as an adverse outcome from the anesthesia, as well as the potential for post-surgical blood clots and infection. For some individuals, these complications are even more likely than they were the first time around. Be sure to discuss your concerns about the surgery with your doctor and to make sure you fully understand the revision procedure.

Learn as Much as You Can About Your Condition

If you have been diagnosed with metallosis or another condition associated with your hip implant, it helps to learn as much as you can about your condition. Your doctor is an important source of information, but often patients fail to ask questions that will provide them with the information they need to make informed decisions.

Write down the questions you have about your condition on a piece of paper that you can take to your appointment with you, but also to have a trusted friend or family member attend your appointment and write the answers to those questions for you as the doctor answers them.

Some questions you should ask your doctor include:

  • Why did this condition occur?
  • What treatment do you recommend to cure this condition?
  • Are there alternative treatments that I should also consider?
  • What happens if I don’t receive treatment for this condition?
  • If I have hip revision surgery, will it completely cure the condition?

If you are encouraged to have hip revision surgery, there are some additional questions which should be asked, including:

  • What complications may occur as a result of this surgery?
  • How many days will I be hospitalized following the surgery?
  • How long does it usually take for someone to recover from hip revision surgery?
  • How soon can I walk unassisted after surgery?
  • How soon can I drive a car or return to work?
  • Will I need physical therapy?
  • If you’re replacing the implant, what is the brand name of the new implant and what is the implant made out of?
  • How long should my joint replacement last, and is there anything I can do to prevent further complications?

While your doctor is a valuable source of information, there are other resources that you can turn to as well. There are many websites offering information on complications of hip replacement surgery. However, use caution when researching your condition online to only seek information from reputable sources.

Do not be afraid to seek a second opinion either. Complications from hip replacement surgery can be debilitating or even life-threatening. It is important that you feel comfortable and confident in the diagnosis and the proposed treatment options that you have been given.

Gather Evidence

Not all complications arising from hip replacement surgery are the result of negligence. Any surgery can cause dangerous complications. However, if you believe that your complications were the result of a defective implant or a medical error, you should obtain as much evidence as you can. Any information the doctor provided to you about the implant you received should be saved, along with information provided to you about your diagnosis.

When you hire an attorney to represent your case, you will authorize him or her to have access to the medical records that pertain to your surgery, treatment, and complications. This information can be used to help prove the injury you suffered and whether it was related to negligence.

Some of the documentation your attorney will want to review includes:

  • The orthopedic surgeon’s office chart pertaining to your case.
  • Operation reports for both your initial hip replacement surgery as well the revision procedure, if you had one.
  • The device record from your initial surgery, which shows the product name and lot numbers for all components included in the device.

Other evidence you will need to produce to prove the expenses and impacts related to your injury include:

  • Bills for medical expenses and medically-related purchases, including items meant to assist with mobility, such as canes, crutches, and wheelchairs.
  • Proof of your lost wages, as demonstrated through timesheets or a letter from your employer stating the amount of work you have missed and whether your complication will prevent you from performing the tasks required for your position.
  • Additional expenses you faced as a result of your complication, including hiring someone to provide personal care or household services that you were too injured to perform yourself.
  • Any documentation you have regarding the impacts that the complication has had on your daily life.

Speak With an Attorney About Your Options

When you seek an attorney, you will want to find one who deals in personal injury, product liability cases, and specifically cases involving hip implant failures. The reason you should find an attorney with experience in this type of case is because—while all personal injury cases are complex—the procedures involved in multi-district litigation are particularly complex.

The primary reasons for an individual to file a lawsuit after a hip replacement include:

  • Device loosening.
  • Metallosis and related health conditions.
  • Your implant failed earlier than anticipated.
  • Your device was marketed as safe but you still suffered complications.
  • You required additional surgeries that could have been avoided if there had not been a medical error or a product defect.
  • Your doctor failed to warn you of the risks involved with the procedure.
  • Your health care provider failed to provide adequate care during pre-op, operative, and post-op phases of your treatment.
  • The doctor did not warn you of the risk of the complication you faced because there were no warnings provided by the manufacturer of the device that your particular complication might occur.

If the device is liable for your injury, your attorney will advise you as to whether you can join multi-district litigation. Multi-district litigation is a court procedure intended to relieve the burden on the court system of litigating many cases with similar claims by temporarily joining all of the cases for the pre-trial phases in one district.

Three issues can result in a defective product lawsuit, including:

  • Failure to warn: In this type of product liability case, the device was designed properly but was not accompanied by the correct warnings or directions.
  • Design defects: This type of product liability involves products that fail to work safely or efficiently, even when all accompanying warnings and directions are heeded.
  • Manufacturing defect: In this product liability scenario, the product was designed properly but was not manufactured according to the design, resulting in the device failing.

If, after discussing your case with an attorney, there is the feeling that your doctor or other health care provider caused your complication through the delivery of substandard care, your legal options could involve the filing of a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Some of the signs that could give rise to a medical malpractice claim include:

  • You did not need the surgery that was performed.
  • You were not provided with ample after-care or were discharged from the hospital without adequate supervision or after-care instructions.
  • The condition that led to your decision to authorize the hip implant procedure was the result of a misdiagnosis.
  • A crucial lab result was misread or disregarded.
  • Your doctor failed to diagnose the complications you incurred as a result of the hip replacement, leading to further damage.
  • You were given the wrong medication after your procedure or the wrong dosage.
  • Surgery was performed on the wrong site. For example, you were scheduled for a hip replacement on the left side, and the surgery was performed on the right side instead.

For a successful outcome to either a product liability claim against the device manufacturer or your orthopedic surgeon or other health care provider for medical malpractice, you must show negligence.

Lawyers show negligence by proving:

  • The at-fault party owed you a duty of care. In product liability cases, the duty of care owed to you by the manufacturer is to design a product that is safe and effective when used according to labeled instructions. The duty of care that is owed by at-fault parties in medical malpractice cases is to provide a standard of care that is the same as any reasonably prudent doctor or health care provider would have provided in similar circumstances.
  • There was a breach in the duty of care. The breach refers to the actions that the at-fault party took that were contrary to the duty of care that was owed.
  • This breach resulted in the complications you experienced after your hip replacement surgery and subsequent expenses for additional medical treatment, lost wages, and other complication-related issues, as well as impacts on your life.

Why You Can Rely on Our Hip Replacement Lawsuit Firm

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman have experience with product liability cases, including multi-district litigation, as well as medical malpractice cases. Our experienced attorneys are ready to help you understand the legal options that are available to you to recover damages related to your hip replacement complications. We are proud to join a network of attorneys across the nation who are working to help those who have suffered life-altering injuries as a result of hip implant surgery.

Our case evaluations are free, and because we work on a contingent fee basis, you do not need to pay for our services until there is a successful outcome in your case. You can afford the legal help you need, regardless of your current financial situation.

Contact Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman today for a free case evaluation at 833-552-7274 or by filling out our online form.


Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA – Clearwater Office
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756
727-451-6900

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