Before you can really understand why some patients have filed Stryker hip replacement lawsuits, you need to understand the different devices. Hip replacement surgery is one of the most common types of orthopedic procedures performed in the U.S. The surgery consists of removing the damaged hip joint, which is comprised of the acetabulum, which is the socket portion of the joint on the pelvis bone and the femoral head, which is the ball part of the joint at the top of the femur (thighbone) and replacing the joint with the artificial one.
The most common causes of hip pain and joint degradation include:
- A break, dislocation, other injury, or disease can cause the blood supply to the ball part of the joint which can lead to bone loss. Known as osteonecrosis or avascular necrosis.
- Age related conditions like osteoarthritis that wear away the cushion between the bone joints causing pain and limited motion.
- The autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis which thickens and inflames the synovial membrane and damages the cartilage.
- Cartilage damage from a post traumatic event like a severe break can cause arthritis leading to pain and stiffness.
You may be a candidate for a hip replacement if the pain you are experiencing limits you being able to do your normal daily activities and if you have hip pain when you try to rest. You may also consider a replacement if you can’t lift or move your leg because of stiffness and physical therapy, walking supports, and pain relief and anti-inflammatory drugs fail to help you.
Though there have been and still are many types of artificial joints on the market, the most commonly used today include the following three.
Titanium and Polyethylene
These metal and plastic hip implants are actually titanium joints with a polyethylene plastic spacer placed in between. The device is held in place either with cement, which is actually a special type of medical glue, or the device is a press-fit type that is porous so that bone and tissue can grow through and around the device.
These implants have ceramic joints with metal parts that fit into the pelvis and femur bones. These are some of the most durable implants and though historically they often had breakage issues, today’s implants are very resistant to wear.
Metal on Metal Implants
These implants are made entirely of metal and may or may not have a plastic spacer in between the joints. They showed very good wear characteristics in the lab, but recipients have complained that metal joints shed tiny particulates into the surrounding tissue and bone causing voids. These voids make dislocation and breakage more likely. Also, the metal debris can enter the blood stream to be transported all over the body and it has been shown to accumulate over time, leading to a serious medical condition called metallosis.