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Hip replacement surgeries have become so popular that most of us probably know someone who has undergone the procedure. In fact, the New York Times claims that approximately 250,000 hip replacement surgeries are annually performed in the United States alone. As a medical malpractice lawyer, I have recently, however, seen a new trend that has emerged, one that is far more alarming. During the past calendar year, complaints about failed hip replacements have reached staggeringly high numbers. These complaints and lawsuits reveal some real and immediate health dangers about the procedure.
Hip replacement is a surgical procedure in which doctors replace the hip joint with an artificial or prosthetic implant. Such a procedure is generally performed to relieve the patient from arthritic pain or repair joint damage resulting from a fractured hip. Generally, hip replacements last for 15 years plus.
While there are different types of hip replacements, the one that has recently come under scrutiny is the all-metal hip, in which both the artificial ball and cup are made of metal. Reports show that patients with an all-metal replacement hip have suffered crippling injuries due to the tiny particles of metal that gradually wear off and shed inside of the patient.
As a direct consequence of these increasing problems and concerns, the vast majority of surgeons have abandoned using the all-metal hips for fear of exposing their patients to the potential dangers of the device, choosing instead hip replacements that combine metal and plastic components. In fact, current use of the all-metal hip has fallen to only 5% of the market.
“It is like playing Russian roulette,” said Dr. Geoffrey H. Westrich, an orthopedic surgeon who has stopped using all-metal replacements.
Moral of the story? If you are considering a hip replacement, make sure to do your homework and research the current trends. If you feel you may be having a problem with your artificial hip, get the advice of a medical malpractice attorney who can evaluate your case and also refer you to a doctor for medical evaluation. Feel free to give me a call @ 1 800 373 8000. Consultations are free and welcomed.
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