What about recalled hip replacements?
Many patients come with concerns over all the buzz in the media about hip replacement recalls. They worry that something has gone wrong with hip replacement surgeries everywhere. Hip replacements have been performed for decades now and the newer technologies are making them better and last longer. However, there have been some concerns with a few designs that have been tried. Medicine and orthopedic surgery requires innovation and thought leaders who will try new things. While we are always trying to improve our care of patients we may have set backs. The good thing is that orthopedic surgeons are generally very diligent in monitoring these developments and have moved away from these designs as soon as problems have been recognized.
If you have had a hip replacement surgery and are having problems, discuss it with your surgeon. It may take as much as a year for you to reach maximum improvement from your hip replacement surgery. However if there is persistent pain, swelling, or difficulty further test may be needed.
For hip replacements that have been recalled there is usually a concern that a metal on metal part of the hip replacement is causing your trouble. This is thought to be from an allergic reaction to the metal debris that may come from the prosthesis. Initial evaluations may include a blood test for metal, and a test to rule out infection. If these test are abnormal then further testing or imaging maybe needed to determine the best treatment for your recalled hip replacement.
Most of the time removing the recalled hip replacement and replacing it with a different implant will correct the problem. This can be very complicated surgery and slightly harder to recover from. After all your first hip replacement surgery was probably meant to last forever.
I think open discussion with informed patients is always paramount when explaining the current state of technology and options for hip replacements.
Don’t shy away from a discussion with your orthopedic surgeon about your hip pain and the possibility of hip replacement, ask questions and participate in the solution! If you would like to talk with me about your hip, get in touch and lets go over the issues and find a solution together. If you have a good story about your hip replacement experience share it with all of us.