Hip Replacement Surgery and Complications

Patients require hip replacement surgery when the hip joint has been injured or is deteriorating, causing a loss of mobility. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) says that surgeons perform some 193,000 hip replacement surgeries annually. Although hip replacement surgery is safer and simpler than it was when it was introduced in the 1960s, there are still major complications associated with the procedure.

Common Hip Replacement Surgery Complications

The most common complications from hip replacement surgery include the following.

  • Dislocation
    The replacement hip joint can become dislocated if you move your leg to certain positions after having surgery. That danger can be reduced if you don’t cross your legs beyond the body’s midline and refrain from bending it by more than 90 degrees at the hip. Dislocations usually happen during the 3 months immediately after the surgery. Dislocation causes a slipping or popping feeling, which is followed by the inability to withstand weight on the replaced hip, according to the website eOrthopod.
  • Infection
    eOrthopod also reports that about 1 percent of hip replacement patients experience an infection in the wound. These infections are most often treated successfully with antibiotics, but in some instances, if the new joint gets infected the replacement hip must be removed and replaced with another artificial hip, says the Mayo Clinic. Warning signs of infection include fever, pain, redness and drainage at the site of the incision.
  • Blood clots
    Blood clotting is the most frequent complication from hip replacement surgery, says the AAOS. Blood clots can develop deep vein thrombosis, which has symptoms including pain, redness, swelling and excess warmth in the leg, usually in the calf. Oxygenation to the entire body can be decreased if a blood clot breaks free and lodges in the patient’s lungs. If a clot reaches the lungs, it forms a pulmonary embolism, which can be life threatening. Symptoms of a pulmonary embolism are difficulty breathing and sudden chest pain. Blood thinners like Heparin are usually prescribed to prevent clots from forming. To keep the blood flowing, the patient should wear compression stockings. The patient should stand and walk as soon as they can to help prevent the formation of clots.
  • Long Term Complications
    Hip replacements deteriorate from everyday wear and tear in about 12 to 15 years. Then, they have to be replaced. A replacement hip can also break or loosen over time, which requires additional surgery. Ossification, or a stiffening of the joint, can also occur. This makes moving the joint difficult. You could also have to use shoe lifts to even out the length of your legs if the hip replacement joint makes one leg shorter than the other.

The most commonly used hip replacements by DePuy and Zimmer have been recalled, so if you suffered complications from one of their products, you may entitled to compensation for your damages. Contact Rosenbaum & Associates for a free consultation regarding your case. There’s no charge unless we win your case.