Hip Implant Recalls &
Hip Replacement Complications

Introduction

Any one working through hip replacement complications, and in particular a situation where a hip implant has been recalled by the manufacturer, will inevitably feel bewildered and a little uncertain from time to time.

There are a number of important health considerations that need to be carefully investigated, expert professional opinion sought, decisions made and actions planned & undertaken.

Throughout the process, the overriding consideration should be to work with your doctor or orthopaedic surgeon to look after your health. Whatever hip replacement complications you're experiencing need to be properly understood and effectively managed in order that your health and overall wellbeing can be protected and maximized for the long-term.

Purpose of this page

This page provides a very simple frame of reference which I hope will help you to structure and marshal your thoughts on:

  • your emerging plan to take responsibility for managing your hip replacement complications
  • the medical and treatment options that you will need to discuss with your doctor
  • some of the potential pros and cons associated with the choices and decisions that you will make, which will ultimately be based on advice and guidance from your doctor

This page focuses on the main medical and treatment options rather than the legal considerations which are dealt with elsewhere on this site.

Caveat: a word of caution

I stress once again that the information presented on this page is not medical advice, and there may be other options available to you which are not covered on this page. As ever, you should discuss your hip replacement complications & wider health situation, and any concerns you might have with your doctor, surgeon or other healthcare professionals.

Only your healthcare professionals can determine and properly understand the specific and unique health challenges that you face. Based on their assessment they will formulate the options that are available to you, and discuss with you the advantages, disadvantages and risks associated with each option.

How to use this page

The information provided on this page is general in nature, and relates ONLY to the situation where a patient has determined that he has been fitted with a hip implant that:

  • Either is the subject of a product recall
  • Or is a metal on metal hip device that has not (yet) been recalled, but he is concerned about the potential health risks that are generally known to be associated with some metal on metal hip implants

The table below compares and contrasts the two broad strategies that are typically considered in situations where hip implants have been recalled, or where there are emerging concerns about a metal on metal hip implant.

Do nothing /
'Wait and See'

Revision Surgery

Overview

If the recalled or metal on metal hip implant:

  • is performing acceptably,
  • is not causing pain or discomfort and,
  • based on the results of the medical tests carried out is not though to be causing immediate health risks…

…then the smart move may be to do nothing in the short term.

Effectively, the strategy would be to leave the device in place and monitor closely both the performance of the device, and the general health of the patient to inform the decision about whether, and if so when revision surgery might be appropriate.

If the recalled or metal on metal hip implant:

  • is not performing acceptably, or
  • is causing pain or discomfort, or
  • based on the results of the tests carried out, is suspected to be causing health risks…

…then the smart move may be to consider revision surgery.

Effectively, the strategy would be to undergo further surgery to remove the original hip implant and replace it with a new device.

Advantages

1. Avoids (in the short term) the trauma and potential risks of revision surgery.

2. Keeps the patient's options open.

1. Proactive and 'gets the job done'.

2. Possible peace-of-mind from having had the original implant removed.

Disadvantages

1. If revision surgery is ultimately required, any delay to the surgery in the short term may increase the risk that the revision surgery will not be successful, due to the possibility of soft tissue and bone damage caused by the release of metal particles from the hip implant.

2. Ongoing stress, concern & worry that a hip implant may be putting the patient's longer term health at risk (for example, the adverse effects of cobalt and chromium in the body).

1. The revision surgery may not be successful, and the overall outcome in terms of the patient's quality of life may be worse than had he elected to do nothing and leave the original implant in place.

2. The pain, trauma and disruption caused by further (revision) hip surgery.

Note : There may well be other options (beyond the two set out in the table above) for managing hip implant complications. Every case is unique; always consult your doctor.

Summary

A doctor's or orthopaedic surgeon's assessment of his patient's hip replacement complications will take into account many different factors including for example age, sex, lifestyle and wider medical & health considerations beyond the hip implant.

Remember, just because a hip implant has been subject to a recall does not necessarily mean that revision surgery will be required. Also, just because an implant is constructed of metal on metal, it does not necessarily mean that the patient will need to have revision surgery.

In conclusion, only a doctor or orthopaedic surgeon can advise a patient on hip replacement complications and help the patient to weigh the relative advantages, disadvantages & risks associated with any course of action (or inaction).

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