More People Pursue Hip Replacement Surgery

More People Pursue Hip Replacement Surgery

As the market for hip implant procedures continue to expand, the number of defective hip implant lawsuits will probably rise as well.

Collectively, Smith & Nephew, Johnson & Johnson, Stryker, and Zimmer Biomet made over $6.5 billion around the world during 2015. An aging population and an increasing obesity rate may drive global sales as high as $9.1 billion by 2024, according to current market research. Over half these sales will probably be in North America, as patients in the developing world often struggle to afford the procedure and also have a hard time finding qualified doctors to perform the surgery. Increasing per capita income may somewhat alleviate these problems.

The high cost, increasing number of defective hip implant recalls, and high level of regulatory scrutiny are the biggest obstacles to even further growth.

Defective Hip Implants

Almost at the same time this report came out, the Food and Drug Administration issued an updated warning about the link between hip implants and metallosis (metal poisoning).

Until about twenty years ago, most artificial hips had plastic cups and metal sockets that mimicked a person’s natural hip joint. Newer MoM (metal-on-metal) implants have metal sockets and metal cups, and the device makers predicted that the new-generation implants would practically last forever, even if the patients remained active. Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski has an artificial hip.

However, every time the metal parts grind against each other, the friction releases microscopic metal fragments into the patient’s bloodstream. Over time, these fragments build up, causing defective him implant side effects like:

  • Dislodgment: As the metal infects the surrounding tissue, it becomes inflamed and pushes the defective hip implant out of position, causing loss of mobility and extreme pain.
  • Device Failure: The continual friction also weakens the device, often causing it to fail in only a few years. These victims nearly always require painful and expensive rehabilitative surgery.
  • Metal Poisoning: In many cases, the metal fragments migrate through the bloodstream to other areas of the body, causing organ failure and other serious complications.

Because many device makers have essentially ignored the known risks of defective hip implants. In December 2016, a Dallas jury awarded several victims nearly $1 billion in punitive damages. This money is on top of compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. In Kentucky, there is normally no cap on punitive damages.

For prompt assistance with a defective hip implant claim, contact the Bowling Green office of Attorney Gary S. Logsdon today, because you have a limited amount of time to act.