Articles Posted in Artificial Hip

Exactech plastic liner in artificial hip system
Earlier I wrote about how Exactech was recalling many of its ankle, hip and knee liner implants. These recalls were based, at least in part, on several studies about how these implants could suffer from premature wear. This could then require patients to need revision surgery (surgery to repair problems from an earlier surgery) to fix the defective artificial joint.

In this blog post, I’ll take a look at some of these studies and try to explain what these studies found, what their findings mean and why they prompted Exactech to initiate these recalls.

The Materials Used in the Hip, Knee and Ankle Inserts or Liners

Exactech Inc. (Exactech) began as a company in 1985 and focuses on developing products for joint replacement. Many of Exactech’s products are used for ankle, knee and hip arthroplasty (surgery to repair or replace a joint in the human body).

Exactech recall polyethylene liners
Many of Exactech’s joint replacement products have performed well and improved the lives of patients. But over the last fear years, Exactech has learned from multiple studies that some of its ankle, knee and hip products can suffer from premature wear or other problems. Many of these issues could result in the need for patients to undergo revision surgery to replace the device and repair any damage it may have caused to the bone and/or soft tissue.

Exactech has initiated various recalls in response to these problems. The purpose of this blog post is to provide a brief overview of which products have been affected, what’s wrong with these products and what you can do if you’ve had one implanted into your body.

My friend and former client, a victim of an artificial hip failure, sat down with me for a great conversation last month. You can listen to that podcast episode here. The other day she sent a note to offer a bit more helpful advice to those individuals working to regain strength and physical health after hip replacement surgery and especially after hip revision surgeries:

Rehabbing after hip replacement surgery

The one thing that I forgot to say that I think may be important for someone:  After several years and seemingly reaching a plateau in my strength and recovery, but still faraway from where I needed to be to walk and function more normally, I started to work with a personal trainer in strength and weight-lifting. Doing mainly squats and deadlifts, beginning with just weighted plastic pipes, and it made a drastic change in my recovery.  It would take a very knowledgeable and patient trainer, but the results were significant. Once I achieved a little more strength through a range of motion, I progressed and my gait improved and I could walk without such a limp.  

Thanks Clay!

iStock-177783057-1-300x200In this week’s episode, Clay’s friend and former client shares her experience from recovering from not one, but three hip replacement surgeries. “Amy” discusses her journey from discovering her need for hip replacement surgery, to having the surgery, to how she knew the product was defective, and through her recovery process.

This conversation is full of important information if you have or think you may need a hip replacement. Join Clay Hodges in this episode to learn more about Amy’s experience with a defective hip replacement.

Today I finish my conversation with Physical Therapist Amy Dougherty on specific problems that may arise with metal-on-metal artificial hip failures:

Clay: Over the past ten years you have seen a lot of metal-on-metal hip implants. Several years ago an attempt was made to put a metal-on-metal artificial hip together, and that was supposed to last forever, or last a whole lot longer, and it turned out that it was problematic. And I know you have had many patients who have had that [implant]. What did you see out of the metal-on-metal hip implants when they were failing?

Physical therapist assisting patient after hip replacement surgery.Amy: Again, the first cardinal sign that I saw was chronic pain, an inability to weight bear normally through that joint. So even after normal hip replacement, the patient should be able to weight bear through it. It should not feel like they collapse on that hip, and so a limp that never resolves or an inability to get away from an assistive device. So, I had a patient in her 50s that could not get off a walker. She was 50. She was playing tennis five days a week before she had her hip replaced. Yes, with the metal-on-metal she suffered metallosis and she had an overt failure of that joint replacement. She was a candidate for this new [metal-on-metal implant], now widely known to be a bad device, because she was so young, active, fit, and healthy. It was supposed to last for longer. It was supposed to allow her to have more function larger range of motion, less risk of dislocation and all of those things. So as we know, that did not really work out so well.

Let’s dive back in to my hip replacement surgery conversation with Physical Therapist Amy Dougherty, who discusses what sports to avoid after hip surgery and what it feels like when a person suffer an artificial hip failure:

Safe and Unsafe Activities and Sports

Clay: What are some sports that you would discourage [after hip replacement surgery]? I know there is a huge range of results and people who are dealing with certain physical issues. But are there any sports you’ve seen as a physical therapist that you say “Do not do this after hip replacement surgery?”

Physical therapist helps patient recover from artificial hip surgery
My friend Amy Dougherty is a physical therapist in North Carolina and operates Outer Banks Physical Therapy. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (where I also attended college and law school). She is an outstanding physical therapist and is beloved by her patients on the Outer Banks. Amy answers many of your questions about hip replacement surgery, metal-on-metal artificial hips, and the problems that have arisen from these hip products.

Clay: I want to focus on hip replacement surgery and I know you work with patients who are dealing with that kind of surgery every week. So let me start by asking what are a few reasons a person might need a hip replacement surgery?

Amy: You know, the most common reason is arthritic changes in the hip. So basically arthritis, that is the most common reason. Other reasons can include things like trauma. Some people have congenital mal-alignments where, it is basically called dysplasia where through the process of their development in utero and then following their bony surfaces of the femur, that is the long thigh bone and the acetabulum which is in the pelvis. They do not form correctly, so they might have ill-formed femoral heads. They might have ill-formed or ill-shaped acetabulum. So, the ball and the socket are not really designed well to weight bear. So, a lot of folks that, especially in a young population, that have early onset hip replacements. It is more likely the result of some type of congenital dysplasia. It could be a trauma. So, but arthritic changes is the number one reason and I have total hip replacement patients in my clinic every day. Very popular surgery, yes.

Smith & Nephew Birmingham hip litigation
COVID-19 has altered everyone’s schedule. Schools, colleges, and restaurants have closed. Even courts have shut down for non-urgent hearings and trials. In June, Judge Catherine Blake, overseeing the Smith & Nephew Birmingham hip litigation, issued an amended Case Management Order to extend discovery deadlines and bellwether trial dates for the multidistrict litigation.

Remember the Smith & Nephew Birmingham hip MDL is moving forward on two tracks: one set of cases involve the BHR components that were used in hip resurfacing procedures, and a second set of cases (“THA Track”) involve those individuals who received Birmingham hip components as part of a total hip arthroplasty (THA). Let’s breakdown the recent schedule changes for each track:

BHR (Resurfacing) Track:

The human hip is a marvel of bioengineering. It allows for a 360-degree range of motion due to its “ball-in-socket” design. But as we age, this hip joint can sometimes fail. When it does, it may require a total hip replacement.

Artificial Hip
Hip replacements often use a variety of exotic metal alloys or ceramics to recreate the ball-in-socket mechanism of the human hip. A total hip replacement will typically consist of four parts:

  • The socket (or acetabular component).

Here is a strange cause and effect: if you don’t keep your weight at healthy levels, you may unwittingly become a victim to a negligent manufacturer selling a defective medical device. Which ultimately means your weight gain may one day lead you to me and to becoming a plaintiff in defective product litigation.

It Works This Way:

weight gainLet’s say your job is intense and over the years you begin to neglect your physical fitness. As you get a little older, in this sedentary state, you begin to gain weight. Gaining weight makes you less willing or able to exercise and you gain even more weight. Soon you start to feel aches in your hip or maybe your knees. This pain, over time, gets worse. Finally you consult an orthopedic surgeon, who recommends a total hip or knee replacement. Because you are a trusting soul, and because the hip pain is getting worse, you schedule hip replacement surgery. At this surgery your doctor implants the latest metal-on-metal (MoM) artificial hip components. A year or two later a new kind of hip pain develops, and this hip pain gets severe quickly. Your surgeon does blood work and tells you that your metal levels have spiked in your body and–of yeah, one other thing–you also have a “recalled” artificial hip implanted and that it needs to come out. So you are now forced to undergo revision surgery, and you eventually find your way to me to file a lawsuit over the injuries you sustained from this defective medical device.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
I was involved in a case for the faulty hip replacements. Clay Hodges represented me. I can't say enough about how much he has helped me. Clay was able to win multiple settlements on my behalf with most of them being the maximum amount able to be awarded. Matt J.
★★★★★
Clay, thank you sir for making a disheartening experience at least palatable, you and your staff were honest, caring and understanding through the entire process of my wife’s hip replacements, while monetary settlements never make the pain and suffering end, it sometimes is the only way people can fight back to right a wrong. J. V.
★★★★★
We are absolutely pleased with how Clay Hodges handled my husband’s hip replacement claim. He always kept us informed of the progress. And, his work resulted in a settlement which we are extremely pleased. Thank you, Clay! Carol L. & Norm L.
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