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Hip Surgery Negligence

Hip replacement surgery is one of the most common operations performed by the NHS now. Over 70,000 NHS patients undergo hip surgery each year.

The private sector also performs a significant number of operations. Some patients are transferred out of NHS care into the private sector under what is known as the “waiting list initiative”. Even if your hip surgery is contracted out to the private sector the NHS remain responsible for your treatment.

Some of these surgeries are “primary” procedures in which the patient is fitted with an artificial hip for the very first time.

Around 10,000 hip operations per year are what are called “revision” operations. A revision operation is performed to replace one artificial hip with another artificial hip.

What are the types of hip surgery?

Total hip replacement

Hip surgery may be a total hip replacement (THR) whereby the ball and socket of the hip is removed and replaced with a prosthetic device. Further – a long stem is placed into the femur (the long bone running from the hip to the knee). The components may be metal or plastic or a combination of both. These three components – the ball, socket and stem make up the required components for a total hip replacement.

Resurfacing procedure

Sometimes patients do not require a total hip replacement in which case the bony femoral head (the ball of the hip joint) is not removed, but instead it is capped with a smooth metal covering. The socket bone is cleaned out and replaced with a metal cup. The patient is not fitted with a stem in the femur. Hip resurfacing is often thought to be best for for younger and active patients.

What can go wrong?

Misaligned implants

A common complication of hip replacement surgery is misplaced or misaligned components.

We have detailed experience of this type of case. Usually the hip alignment error occurs due to the cup being placed at the wrong angle. If the cup is at the wrong angle this can lead to excessive wear of the hip device (perhaps of cobalt / chromium components). The device may become loose or even become dislocated. This may have been due to the angle of the cup.

Repeated hip dislocations

Repeated dislocation of the hip is an indication that the components are misaligned. It may be due to a misaligned hip. We have experience of these cases and are very aware of the complex issues relating to these types of cases. We have a team of experts with whom we have worked with over a number of years.

Wrong sized implants

We have dealt with cases where the wrong sized components have been fitted – for example the stem has been too short. This can lead to problems of instability.

Defective implants

It may well be that the implanted device is of a poor design or from a bad batch. In this case the claim may well be against the manufacturer of the hip rather than the surgeon. If your hip surgery was performed privately then the

Leg length difference

Following surgery some patients can find that there is a slight or perhaps a more extreme difference in their leg lengths. Sometimes this can be corrected with conservative treatment and on other occasions further surgery is warranted.

Implant loosening

Implant loosening is less common than in the past. Implant loosening is often a non negligent complication of the procedure which cannot be predicted despite the surgeon’s best efforts.

Nerve injury

The femoral nerve and other nerves are at risk in the procedure. Nerve injury can sometimes be due to provable surgical error. On other occasions it is hard to prove how the injury occurred.

Pre operative planning / templating

Advance in scanning means that the surgeon can and should prepare in detail for the procedure. Many hip surgeries fail due to poor planning,

Fractured implants

We have acted in claims in which metal hip components have fractured due to metal fatigue. Errors can occur in the manufacturing process or in the Quality Control process. Prosthetic hips are required to withstand enormous stress and should last upwards of 15-20 years. An early failure of a hip could indicate a defect in the manufacturing process.

Negligent hip surgery claims with Hodge Jones Allen

Our highly experienced team of specialist Medical Negligence Lawyers are here to assist and to advise. They will advise you comprehensively about the merits of your claim, funding and ensure that you and your family get the best possible results.

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