DePuy Hip Recall News
Patients are continuing to look at their legal options following the DePuy hip recall in 2010. When the DePuy hip implants were first introduced to the market, the manufacturer claimed they could be expected to last as long as competing devices (fifteen years or longer). It has since become clear this claim is invalid. The hip replacements – the ASR XL Acetabular and DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing systems – have failed at an unusually high rate within a few years of implantation. Even more troublesome are recent allegations that DePuy Orthopaedics was aware of the problems, and failed to warn the public and medical community.
Given these circumstances, it’s worth taking a closer look at the risks involved with receiving the DePuy hip replacements. Since there is a higher-than-normal likelihood recipients will need revision surgery within a few years, these risks take on a new priority and led to the DePuy hip replacement recall.
Blood Clots And Infections
Clotting is common following a hip replacement procedure. Because clots can form in the deep veins – from which they can migrate to the lungs – your doctor may prescribe anticoagulant drugs. You may be required to take these medications for a month or longer following the operation.
Sometimes, the hip joint becomes infected after the implant is installed. This can occur shortly after implantation or years down the road. Infection is always serious since bacteria can spread throughout the body via the bloodstream. The likelihood of infection can be minimized by taking antibiotics before and after the procedure.
The risk of blood clots and infection is always present during hip replacement surgery and revision surgery. Because the DePuy ASRs allegedly fail at a much higher rate than competing devices, there is a greater likelihood of early revision surgery. Consequently, if your DePuy device fails prematurely, clotting and infection become a concern.
Bone Fractures And Hip Implant Loosening
Given enough time, all hip implants eventually wear out. The acetabular component (cup) loosens within the pelvic socket to the point it must be replaced. Normally, the device will last fifteen years, and even longer if the patient is relatively inactive.
The problem with the hip replacements that helped lead to the DePuy hip recall is that they have been known to loosen within a few years after they are installed. This occurs for a couple of reasons. First, the ball-and-cup design of the implants is flawed. The cup is shallower than other devices, and thus is more difficult to seat properly in the socket. Second, because the cup’s fit in the acetabulum is less secure, it begins to move.
When the cup starts to move within the socket, the surrounding bone begins to weaken. Eventually, small fractures develop. This causes severe pain and swelling in the area. Worse, it can lead to dislocation of the joint.
Dislocation Of The Hip Joint
There is always a risk of dislocation following hip replacement surgery. Implanting the device weakens the muscles and bone of the socket, making the joint less stable. Over time, however, the muscles and bone begin to support the implant, lowering the chances of premature dislocation.
The design flaw of the DePuy ASRs (described earlier) increases the odds that the joint will dislocate. The femoral ball becomes separated from the cup. In some cases, this is due to the shallowness of the cup. Other times, fractures in the bone surrounding the component cause the cup to loosen, and the ball to separate. In both circumstances, the patient will lose the ability to move her hip, making walking and even standing difficult.
One Leg Longer Than The Other
When doctors install hip implants, they pay close attention to the stability of the device within the pelvic socket. If there appears to be a risk of dislocation, a longer prosthesis may be used. This can cause the leg to lengthen, often to the point of creating a noticeable discrepancy with the other leg. The result is pain after extended walking or standing. The risk is greater with revision surgery since the weakened bone may reduce the stability of the joint.
While every hip replacement operation poses risks, the DePuy ASRs are saddled with failure rates that are several times higher than other devices. This increases the odds of complications that cause pain and suffering, and ultimately require revision surgery. If you are currently suffering from hip pain, bone fractures, loosening of the implant, or other serious DePuy hip replacement recall side effects, learn more about your legal options. Contact our DePuy hip recall lawyers to discuss your case.