Boston’s PBS affiliate, WGBH, recently featured a program showing what it is like to be in the operating room during a minimally invasive total hip replacement surgery. Traditional methods involved making a 12-inch incision along the side of a patient’s hip and dislocating the hip joint from the pelvis. This method, still used in patients over 60 and who have other health issues, requires patients to stay in the hospital for days or even weeks and undergo a slow and painful recovery process. The large incision also increases the risk patients will develop a serious infection following surgery.
With minimally invasive techniques, only a six-inch incision is needed at the top of a patient’s hip, and dislocation is not required in many cases. This means a patient can typically go home that same night and sleep in his or her own bed. This also means there will be less pain during recovery, less risk of an artificial hip failure, and less time away from work or one’s other daily routine.
The reason doctors are able to perform a minimally invasive total hip replacement surgery is though the use of modern technology. It all begins with surgeons and radiologists working together to take a CT scan of the patient’s pelvic area while he or she is in the operating room. Doctors then use a computer and the CT image to make a three dimensional virtual model of exactly how the operation will work. There is an electronic signaling device used to guide the surgeon while he or she is watching a monitor while the movements occur inside the patient.
A minimally invasive total hip replacement also involves a coordinated effort between anesthesiologists and physical therapists to minimize pain during the surgery and shorten recovery time while increasing the chances of a successful procedure.
Unfortunately, as our Boston hip replacement injury attorneys have seen on many occasions, despite a skilled surgeon’s best efforts and the help of a qualified medical team, an operation cannot be successful if the artificial hip joint itself was defectively designed. Two of the devices which have led to a great deal of pain and suffering are the Pinnacle and ASR artificial hip joints manufactured by DePuy. These joints featured a metal-on-metal construction, which DePuy marketed as a way for patients to have a smoother functioning joint, allowing them to engage in more athletic activities such as jogging.
The problem with a metal-on-metal hip joint is metal would be shaved off when it when components rubbed together. This led to medical devices failing a short time after implantation, loosening of artificial hips, tissue damage from metal shards, and form of poisoning known as metalosis.
If you have had problems with an artificial hip, and especially if you have been told you need to have another surgery to have the device repaired or replaced, and it has been less than ten years since the device was first implanted, you should contact a hip replacement injury attorney to see if you have a case. It is helpful to get a copy of your complete medical record including the make and model of the artificial hip joint before your consultation. An experienced attorney will know the history of your particular device and will be able to advise you as to whether you have a valid claim. Even if insurance companies are paying for the cost of the second surgery, you not be compensated for your pain and suffering, lost wages from time during a second rehabilitation, and other special damages.
Call Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers for a free and confidential appointment — (617) 777-7777.
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