When you got a hip replacement, you felt excited. It would last for 20 years, doctors told you. At your age, you figured you would never need another one. Initially, it seemed like it would improve your quality of life dramatically. You marveled at the medical science that allowed the procedure to happen and counted yourself lucky.
Unfortunately, now you worry that you got a defective device. To help you decide how to proceed, here are some of the potential issues you may face:
1. Excess wear
When metal-on-metal hip replacements came out, they seemed like the wave of the future. Metal is more durable than bone; it felt like having a bionic hip.
The problem is that the metal-on-metal design actually causes the metal to wear out more quickly since it rubs against itself. Many devices started wearing down far faster than anticipated. They may have told you you'd get 20 years out of it, but you may wind up with far fewer.
2. Fast replacements
As a result of the wear, you may need to have the hip replaced again far sooner than you anticipated. This is quite a shock, especially when you assumed you would only go through the procedure once. It's very expensive. Recovery can be painful. Depending on your age, just having to go through a second surgery can put you at risk for all sorts of reasons.
Another issue with this extra wear and tear is called metallosis. This condition occurs when the metal in the replacement hip breaks down and deteriorates, and then the tiny particles find their way into your bloodstream. Blood with a high metal content can be quite dangerous.
For instance, some people have reported bone loss, inflammation, circulatory problems, cognitive issues and blood poisoning. Worst of all, people with metallosis may not even have known why it was happening before experts connected these issues to the implants.
Other potential symptoms of this disorder include:
- A skin rash, also referred to by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a "general hypersensitivity reaction"
- Renal function impairment
- Visual impairments
- Auditory impairments
- Other neurological changes and sensory changes
- Neck discomfort
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Feeling cold consistently
- Weight gain
That's not to say that everyone with metallosis will have all of these symptoms, but these are some of the main things you should watch out for and the issues you could have to deal with in the future.
What options do you have?
Do you think you have a defective hip replacement? Have you been experiencing some of these symptoms, perhaps for some time? Make sure you know exactly what options you have.