Hip Replacement Recalls Bring Alternatives to Forefront

Published on January 3, 2012

Most people think of hip replacement as something reserved for older people whose joints are finally giving out after several decades of wear. This is most often true, but many younger people are also candidates for hip replacement. They sometimes suffer joint degradation due to arthritis or injury, and it can cause years of pain and difficulty standing and walking. Several hip replacement manufacturers, like Wright, have either recalled their products, or are currently embroiled in lawsuits because of product failures.

As an Oklahoma Wright hip attorney, we are always disheartened to hear stories from clients about the pain they endure because of a hip replacement failure. If you’re a candidate for hip replacement, and are young and still active, you may want to talk to your doctor about these alternatives instead.

Hip Resurfacing

This procedure still involves an implant, but overall, it’s much smaller then an entire hip replacement implant. What makes it a better choice for some people is that the ball joint part of the implant is larger than the one on an entire replacement implant. This gives the patient more stability and a better range of motion. Patients who undergo hip resurfacing also experience assimilation (feeling like the new hip is actually theirs) much sooner than patients who have complete hip replacement. Younger patients who opt for hip resurfacing are able to remain active, or regain their previous level of activity. In addition, when younger people get hip replacements, they very often have to undergo a second replacement later in life when the first one wears out. This is less likely with resurfacing.

Hip Fusion

This was the alternative procedure of choice before hip resurfacing showed itself to be so successful. Hip fusion is not performed very often anymore, but depending on the patient, may still be a viable option in some situations. As the name suggests, the procedure entails an actual joining of one or more bones by artificial means. While it proved to be successful at relieving hip pain, it unfortunately caused problems with other joints in the body. Hip fusion patients later experienced lower back and knee pain. In fact, while hip fusion does make the hip stronger and more stable, it can cause the development of secondary degenerative arthritis in adjacent joints, which makes it a less desirable choice than hip resurfacing.

If you suffer from a condition or injury that causes hip degeneration, and your doctor recommends hip replacement, talk to him about these and other alternatives first. It may be that something other than total hip replacement can work for you, and can help you avoid further problems stemming from defective hip replacement implants produced by Wright, and other medical product manufacturers.

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Jeremy Thurman

Jeremy Thurman has been practicing law since 2002, and spent his first two years in practice with an insurance company defense firm. He joined McIntyre in 2004 and draws on his previous experience with insurance companies to represent plaintiffs in personal injury and mass tort cases. His primary areas of practice include auto negligence, medical malpractice, defective drugs, and nursing home negligence. Read more about Jeremy Thurman.

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