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Boston Researchers Find More Pain for Knee Replacement with Opioid Use

Hip replacement surgery may not make you feel 20-years-old again, but a properly-designed artificial hip should last at least 20 years, and should not cause you substantial pain. Unfortunately, a significant number of defective hip replacements are on the market. Consumers may assume the pain is merely a symptom of the surgery, and many turn to opioids to cope.

According to a recent article from the Gloucester Times, a study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston involving 156 hip replacement patients took a look at how long-term opioid use can affect hip replacement operations and the level of pain suffered by patients.

Boston Product Liability lawyer Many patients who elect to have a total hip replacement operation have been suffering from chronic pain for a long time before having surgery.  This is because many get a total hip replacement following a degenerative hip disease such as osteoarthritis. Many of these patients have taken opioid medication for a long time prior to having surgery to deal with the pain.  The results of this study were that the majority of the patients who took opioid painkillers prior to surgery had around nine percent less pain reduction than those who did not take opioids prior to surgery when measured at six months post-operative.

Essentially, the researchers developed a scale to measure the level of pain reduction from before until after the surgery. The pain was measured at six months following the operation to allow the patients time to fully recover.  Whatever the average level of pain reduction was for patients who did not take opioids for an extended period of time prior to surgery, those who did take the medications had a pain reduction of around nine percent less that this average.  That is actually a statically significant number and amounts to quite a bit more pain for these patients. The reason for this, as surmised by the researchers, is that chronic use of painkillers made from opioids can lead to worse clinical outcomes, as they can have lasting effects on your central nervous system and pain receptors.

However, as our Boston defective hip replacement lawyers can explain, it won’t matter whether or not the patient uses opioids prior to surgery if the artificial hip itself was defectively designed.  If you are experiencing significant amounts of pain, and your doctor tells you that you need to have a new hip implanted, even though it has only a been a few years, this is likely sign that the device itself was defective.

There are a variety of reasons we have seen so many artificial hips on the market. One reason is that it is the second most performed operation in the U.S., with over 300,000 new hips implanted each year. This means it is big business, and these medical device companies are looking to grab the biggest share of the market they can and cash in.  They may rush new devices onto the market and spend more on marketing than they do on research and development and safety testing. They are able to get away with this, because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires less safety testing for medical devices than they do with drugs if a similar device is already on the market.

If you are the victim of Massachusetts product liability, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Resources:

Study looks at opioid impacts in knee replace cases, May 18, 2017, By Katie Lannan, Gloucester Times

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