When patients receive hip replacement surgery, they often expect to be relieved from hip pain. Unfortunately, for many patients, the pain reoccurs even after a hip replacement procedure has been carried out. The causes of hip replacement pain can range from dislocation to nerve damage to a defective hip replacement. The good news is that most complications can be treated.
The Causes of Hip Replacement Pain
One of the most common causes of hip replacement pain arises when the hip’s artificial ball becomes dislocated from the socket. Dislocation often occurs because the implanted ball and socket are smaller than one’s natural ball and socket. Hip replacement pain may also be caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve, which runs from your lower back through your hip and down to your foot. Infection is another possible source of hip pain. The tissue surrounding the hip implant may become exposed to bacteria, triggering an infection.
Lastly, wear and tear on the hip implant is a common cause of discomfort. This most commonly occurs in metal-on-metal implants. Friction between the metal components of a hip replacement can cause particles to be released into the body and absorbed by surrounding tissue. The metal particles often lead to increased levels of metal in the bloodstream, a condition known as metallosis. In some cases, metallosis can even result in blood poisoning. An active lifestyle can sometimes help accelerate this process of deterioration.
The danger posed by hip deterioration has prompted several prominent hip manufacturers to recall their metal-on-metal replacement hip models. As a result, thousands of patients who received these hip implants have filed product liability suits against the manufactures in order to receive compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Patients who experience hip replacement pain have reported a wide range of symptoms, including:
- Difficulty in extending their legs
- Burning and sharp sensation through their lower limbs
- Fever and chills
- Skin irritation, inflammation, and liquid discharge around the hip
- Metal poisoning, when metal is released in your bloodstream
- Loosening of hip implants causing discomfort and unstable hips
- Broken bones and dislocated joints
The Next Steps You Should Take
Patients suffering from hip replacement pain should consult with their physician as soon as possible. Treatment may require additional surgery to move the hip back to its original position or to insert a new hip. Patients who received a recalled defective hip may be entitled to a free hip replacement. Some hip manufacturers may compensate patients for any lost wages and any out of pocket expenses related to the additional surgery. In addition, injured patients may wish to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer in order to recover damages for pain and suffering and other expenses. Under product liability law, manufacturers and sellers are generally liable for any injuries caused by defective products they place on the market.
Alternatively, a medical malpractice suit may be appropriate in certain cases. In a medical malpractice suit, the patient typically claims that a doctor or health care professional was negligent in failing to meet the proper standard of care during treatment. For example, the physician may have negligently performed your hip replacement surgery. Patients should consult with a product liability or medical malpractice attorney to learn more about their legal options.