Legal Help for Hip Replacement Injuries
Also known as hip arthroplasty, hip replacements are surgical procedures to replace injured or damaged hips with artificial parts called prosthetics.
Sometimes hip replacement is necessary after incurring a fracture of the hip, or due to arthritis. Thousands of hip replacement surgeries occur annually. There have been instances where defective prosthetics were used in the procedures. Liability exists for manufacturers of faulty medical devices, as in the case of Stryker.
Wilmington victims of defective hip replacement products or other faulty medical devices are encouraged to contact Rhine Law Firm, P.C. We will strive on your behalf for a settlement that is fair.
Prosthetics (Artificial Limbs)
Hip prosthetics are composed of metal and plastic. A “cemented” prosthesis is attached to healthy bone using surgical cement. An “uncemented” prosthesis has small holes on its surface, which allow the bone to grow within and more naturally attach by what is known as biologic fixation. Either way, the artificial joint consists of a metal or ceramic ball and socket. These parts are then connected to the thigh bone and the pelvis. Both types have had fairly similar levels of success, but typically cemented joints are used among older, less active patients. The uncemented surgeries are recommended more for younger people, and have a longer recovery time.
Traditional (Posterior) Hip Replacements
Posterior hip replacement is an open surgery requiring an initial six-to-twelve inch incision near the buttocks. Patients are given general anesthesia or spine-based anesthesia. The steps are as follows:
- Muscles are split or detached from the hip joint, which is then dislocated.
- The femoral head is extracted and a metal stem is placed within the open center of the thigh bone (femur).
- The metal or ceramic ball is put in, taking the place of the femoral head.
- Damaged cartilage (acetabulum) is removed and replaced with a metal piece.
- The socket is held in place with screws or cement.
- A “spacer” is inserted to allow for smooth movement.
Minimally Invasive Anterior Hip Replacement
As progress has continued in the field of hip replacement, less invasive procedures have increasingly been used. Only one or two relatively small incisions are needed, and patients may be able to avoid an overnight hospital stay. An anterior hip replacement involves accessing the hip joint from the front of the body, unlike the traditional posterior method.
Regardless of the method, both surgeries replace the bone and cartilage with implants, and a smoothly operating hip joint is formed.
Often, those with significant arthritis may benefit from hip resurfacing instead of full replacement. Less bone matter is removed with resurfacing. A shallow metal cup is used as a replacement for the hip socket that is damaged, which then functions like a healthy joint. The joint has polished metal surfaces in the areas of friction and the movement is similar to the original ball-and-socket joint within the hip. The femoral head is left intact, but damaged bone and cartilage are removed.
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Medical devices generally perform an excellent service in improving the quality of our lives. Unfortunately, there are times when serious errors are made and these have consequences.
For over 30 years, Rhine Law Firm, P.C., has been advocating for victims of defective medical devices, including hip joints, in Wilmington and greater New Hanover County. You may be eligible for financial retribution for medical expenses, missed work, mental anguish, pain and suffering, and more.
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