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Have a Hip Implant? 5 Questions for your Doctor

| Oct 27, 2010

As a North Charleston personal injury lawyer , I oftentimes come across clients who've hurt themselves simply by not asking their doctors important questions to better understand their condition or procedures. While doctors should provide sufficient information, you can't always rely on them to answer all your questions if you don't ask. Hip surgery is an intense procedure with a long recovery period, so how do you know if something is going wrong?

Here are some common questions you should ask your doctor if you have a hip implant:

1. What kind of hip implant do I have?

Make sure you don't have a recalled device. The most recently recalled device is the ASR XL Acetabular System made by DePuy Orthopaedics.

2. What are the major warning signs of a failing hip implant?

The major symptoms of a defective hip are pain, instability, and inflammation, but if you simply have a sense that "something isn't right," press your case and request X-rays or other diagnostic scans.

3. Can a bad hip implant cause metal poisoning?

Ask for blood tests that specifically look for elevated levels of chromium and cobalt, which have been identified with metal debris created by the DePuy ASR hips.

4. Do I need a second surgery?

The only way to repair a defective hip implant is to replace it during a second, "revision" surgery. These procedures are longer, more technically difficult, and yield less satisfactory results than the initial surgery.

5. What are the risks of a second hip surgery?

While each case is unique, your doctor should tell you that a second hip device is more difficult to position because the bone on which it will be mounted may be compromised. The surgery will take longer, resulting in greater blood loss. Your recovery will also be lengthier due to a greater danger of implant dislocation.

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