If you have received a metal-on-metal hip implant, you may be experiencing the same adverse side effects that many other hip replacement patients have suffered. However, with a metal-on-metal hip, side effects such as pain, swelling and loss of mobility may be signs of problems specific to prosthetic hips with metal components.
Regardless of your symptoms, if you know that you received a metal-on-metal hip implant, including a total hip replacement system or a hip resurfacing system, Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., presents the following five important steps you should take:
1. Contact your surgeon
Your surgeon should be expected to cooperate with you because these claims are not considered medical malpractice claims. Ordinarily, these are medical device product liability claims.
Ask your surgeon about your implant if you do not already know:
- Your implant manufacturer’s name
- The model and model number of your hip implant
- The date of your surgery
- The hospital where you had your surgery.
Ask your surgeon to provide you this information and a copy of the operative report from your surgery.
2. Confirm what type of hip implant you have
In metal-on-metal total hip replacement systems, the joint’s ball and socket are both made of metal. In some total hip replacements, parts of the joint are polyethylene or ceramic. All hip resurfacing systems currently on the U.S. market use metal for both implanted parts.
There are five manufacturers of metal-on-metal hip implant systems approved for use in the United States:
- Biomet, Inc.
- Depuy Orthopaedics (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson)
- Smith & Nephew, Inc.
- Stryker Orthopedics
- Zimmer Holdings.
3. Get tested
Moving parts that grind against each other in metal-on-metal hip implants can shed metal flakes, which are toxic and can damage the body. Metal shed from hip implants can cause “metallosis,” which is damage to soft tissue around the hip implant. This can be diagnosed and assessed with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Computed Tomography (CT) or ultrasound imaging.
A second problem with metal flaking from metal-on-metal hip implants is the passing of metal ions into the bloodstream. This can cause a variety of serious medical problems. Ask your primary care doctor to test your blood to determine whether it has elevated metal ion levels.
4. Follow your doctor’s advice
If you have had severe discomfort or failure of your hip implant, or you show signs of metallosis, you may need revision surgery to remove and replace your implant.
However, you surgeon may ask that you allow the removed hip implant to be sent to the manufacturer for analysis to determine why it failed. We suggest you deny this request and state clearly that you want the removed hip implant components returned to you.
If you have a metal-on-metal hip implant removed because it failed prematurely (hip implants should last 15 to 20 years) or because it caused you to suffer from metallosis or other problems, the device itself may be evidence in a legal claim.
5. Contact an experienced metal-on-metal hip implant lawyer
Manufacturers of medical products have a legal obligation to ensure that devices they put on the market are safe and effective. The history of metal-on-metal hip implants clearly indicates that their manufacturers have failed to meet this obligation.
Patients who have suffered undue pain and have had to undergo additional medical procedures, including revision surgery, because their metal-on-metal hip implant failed should be compensated for their pain, suffering and costly medical expenses they have endured.
A personal injury lawyer experienced in litigation against medical products manufacturers can help you obtain the financial assistance you need and deserve.
At Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., attorney Samuel L. Davis is spearheading our efforts to secure compensation for metal-on-metal hip implant victims from across the country. He is the founder and chair of the American Association of Justice’s Orthopedic Implant Litigation Group, and he has been litigating defective knee- and hip-replacement cases for many years.
We can provide you with a free and confidential initial consultation about your case. If we determine together that legal action may benefit you, there will be no charge for our services until we obtain a verdict or settlement on your behalf.
Learn more by calling us today at (800) 529-2000 or by filling out our online contact form.