Although surgery is difficult, many times it is the only option. Hopefully, after the 1 ½ - 3 hr surgery, 5-10 days in the hospital after the operation, and up to ten weeks of intense physical therapy and rehabilitation, the patient may be able to walk again without pain. Patients have enough to worry about between the surgery, recovery, and possible long-term and short-term risks associated with the operation (such as blood clots, infections, dislocation of the prosthesis, change of leg length, etc.), to worry about another complicated surgery afterwards if the hip replacement doesn't properly take or deteriorates.
Unfortunately, close to 93,000 individuals who have received a hip prosthesis from DePuy Orthopedics Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, may be in need of revision surgery. Two of DePuy's orthopedic products, the ASR Hip Resurfacing System and the ASR XL Acetabular System, were recalled on August 26, 2010, after data from the National Joint Registry revealed that one in every eight people with these systems required a follow-up revision surgery.
If you or a loved one has received a hip implant recently, or within the last 5 years, and have experienced pain, swelling, or problems walking, you may want to consult your doctor to verify the prosthesis used.
Symptoms that indicate a need for a revision surgery include:
- Loosening of the implant, when it does not stay in its proper position against the bone
- Fracture of the bone surrounding the implant or
- Dislocation of the implant, when the two adjoining parts are no longer correctly aligned
DePuy implants consist of ball and socket components made of metal that rub against one another as the joint functions These implants, also known as metal-on-metal implants, often wear down over time, leaving small traces of metal within the blood, bone, and muscle tissue. While these traces are often too small to detect, thousands of people have reacted to these particles which can cause swelling, pain, and even permanent muscle, bone, and nerve damage.
If you have felt any of these symptoms, you should contact the surgeon who performed your hip operation. He or she should have a record of which prosthesis was used, and may take blood tests, x-rays, an ultrasound or an MRI to determine if you are in need of a follow-up operation. If you have received one of the recalled products but have not felt any symptoms or pain, you should still follow up with your doctor for the first 5 years after surgery, to ensure that the replacement continues to function properly.
If you do not know the surgeon who performed the surgery or the device that was used, contact the hospital where the surgery took place. The hospital representatives should have a medical record of the surgery and prosthesis.
This is the 11th recall of Johnson & Johnson's since September 2009. If you are one of the 93,000 patients who have received a recalled DePuy product, you should seek medical counsel immediately. In addition, you may wish to pursue compensation for any medical expenses, pain or suffering consequently incurred. Take charge of your health and don't let years go by before you receive the medical attention you deserve.