Hip Replacement Surgery, usually a procedure reserved for the elderly, is now becoming more and more common among young people, especially young athletes. It is a risky and difficult surgical procedure for any patient, and as such, doctors often prefer to try other methods of rehabilitation for their patients, such as:
- physical therapy
- walking aids
- anti-inflammatory drugs
- cortisone injections
- joint supplements
- hip resurfacing
- hip fusion
- resection anthroplasty (the bone around the hip joint is removed and allowed to fill with scar tissue)
- hip osteotomy (when the bones of the hip joint are realigned)
Even if all other the other therapies are unsuccessful, doctors still prefer to limit hip replacement surgeries to the patients that are suffering from the worst symptoms, or to the patients whose quality of life has been drastically reduced by their pain. If hip replacement surgery is absolutely necessary, then the patient will have to undergo a procedure in which parts of the hip will be removed, and replaced with artificial implants.
After this surgery, patients are often at risk for a variety of negative side effects, such as blood clots, infections, or joint stiffening. However, there was another, much nastier side effect that surfaced between 2006 and 2008: the malfunctioning of the Durom Cup (one of the artificial components of hip surgery) made by the Zimmer Company.
The Zimmer Durom Cup had been approved for use in Europe since 2003, three years before the FDA approved its use in the United States. However, doctors in America noticed that the surgeries they performed with the Zimmer Durom Cup often resulted in a painful failure for the patients. The cups would either loosen in the sockets, coming loose at the slightest touch, or they would actually migrate to a different part of the patient’s leg, no longer serving their purpose. These malfunctions were very painful for the patients, and often resulted in expensive reparative medical procedures.
After a public outcry over the ridiculously high rate of failure by the Zimmer Durom Cup, Zimmer pulled their product from the market in 2008 (despite their insistence that the fault lay with the doctors, and not their product), and has set aside over $47 million to pay for the impending lawsuits. It did not stay off the market for very long, however, and is being used again in the United States, albeit this time by many fewer surgeons. Nevertheless, if you find yourself needing medical treatment for your hip, you may want to strongly consider a less invasive, more therapeutic option, such as those listed above.