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Total Hip Replacement Surgery for Young Patients

When we think of total hip replacement surgery, we typically think of older patients. Many times, a hip replacement is needed to treat years of pain caused by increasing osteoarthritis.

In some elderly patients, more commonly women, a fall can result in a broken hip, which is often treated with hip replacement surgery. However, hip replacement surgery is not only used on elderly Americans. Sometimes hip replacement surgery patients are much younger.

surgeon-2-179919-m.jpgAccording to a recent news feature from Health Line, hip replacement surgery is commonly performed in young patients who suffer from juvenile arthritis. More specifically, physicians are using it to conditions known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) and juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), which is a form of arthritis that can occur at any age (most commonly young patients) and is caused by an autoimmune response. These conditions can be treated with a total hip replacement, as would be done with patients in their 60s and 70s. But the problem lies with the expected lifespan of the artificial hip implant.

Under normal conditions, including wear and tear from for ordinary use, an artificial hip implant, if designed properly, will last around ten years, though sometimes longer. When a patient is around 70 years of age, the lifespan of the hip is similar to the lifespan of the patient, so this does not present a significant problem. It is not as if a properly constructed artificial hip will simply fail all at once. Rather, years of wear will make it become loose and start to cause pain to the patient.

However, when an artificial hip is implanted into a six-year-old patient suffering from JIA or JRA but is otherwise perfectly healthy, even the best artificial hip will not last anywhere near the patient’s lifespan, and he or she will need to have new hip implanted several more times over the course of his or her life. This means painful surgery and a lengthy recovery period. As the patient gets older, the recovery will become more difficult.

Despite this, doctors are beginning to believe it is worth implanting an artificial hip in younger patients, because it is better than the alternative, which is dealing with pain and limited range of movement. Studies show in around 85 percent of JIA and JRA patients, artificial hips will last at least ten years. 50 percent of young patients had the devices last at least 20 years. Doctors consider these to be successful results.

However, these results are dealing with successful hip replacement surgeries involving properly designed hips. Unfortunately, as our Boston hip replacement injury lawyers have seen all to often, not every artificial hip is properly designed. For example, a large medical device manufacturer called DePuy developed and marketed an artificial hip known as the DePuy ASR, which used a metal-on-metal joint. This ASR hip has been know to break down, releasing metal shards into the patient’s tissue, and the shards can cause serious pain and suffering. They can also cause a form of blood poisoning known as metalosis.

Call the Boston Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Information:

Hip Replacement Effective for 10 to 20 Years in Juvenile RA Patients, Apr. 9, 2015, Health Line
More Blog Entries:
More Younger Americans Undergo Total Hip Replacement Surgery Than Ever Before, August 17, 2014, Boston Products Liability Lawyer Blog