Written by Andrew Sarski on January 13, 2011
While most people expect their implant to last the rest of their life, many implants wear out over time or surgeons unknowingly implement defective products, making revision surgery only a few years after the original surgery almost inevitable. Revision surgeries are extremely complicated and costly because of the circumstances surrounding the procedure. Total replacement surgeries typically require large portions of bone to be removed in order to make room for the implant, and even partial replacements involve the removal of a portion of the bone. Surgeons who perform revision surgeries therefore, have less bone to work with and more scar tissue to work around. Due to the decreased quality and quantity of bone available, removal and replacement of the implant can be extremely difficult. Another aspect of revision surgery to consider is age. Typically people who receive a replacement surgery will be older and generally less tolerant of complicated surgical procedures. The surgery will last longer, will be more difficult than primary implant surgery, and the patient will experience more blood loss.
Types of Revision Surgeries
There are multiple forms of revision surgery, most often involving replacement of the hip or knee. One of the most common factors contributing to the need for revision surgery is the use of a defective product, such as a hip or knee implant. Hip revision surgery, also known as revision total hip arthroplasty, occurs when a surgeon removes an implanted artificial hip joint and replaces it with a new artificial joint. Hip revision surgery may involve an “autograft” bone graft in which the bones is taken from another site in the patient’s body, or an “allograft” bone graft, which means the bone tissue came from a donor. Knee revision surgery is equally as difficult as replacing a hip implant; the operation may require bone grafts and sometimes a custom prosthesis. Revision surgery is intended to relieve pain in the affected area, restore the recipient’s mobility, or remove a defective or damaged prosthesis.
Further Injuries Created by a Need for Revision Surgery
Despite the complications associated with revision surgery, many people will find themselves in need because of a defective product, in some cases just a few years after the primary joint replacement. Patients will be forced to undergo an extremely difficult surgery because of the use of a product that has failed to perform the task for which it was intended. Some of the common symptoms that signal a need for revision surgery include:
- Severe pain
- Death to surrounding tissue and bone
- Partial or complete lack of mobility
- Loosening of the implant
- Fractured bone around the implant
- Dislocation of the implant
In some cases, implant recipients may not experience any adverse symptoms, but an x-ray will reveal a need for revision surgery. On the other hand, despite significant symptoms, some orthopedic doctors will advise against revision surgery due to the complications and cost involved in the process.
Complications Associated with Revision Surgery
Besides the technical difficulties involved in the actual process of revision surgery, there are physical aspects of the procedure that patients must consider as well, including further debilitation, a prolonged recovery time, an increased hospital stay, and an increased risk of complications and death. If you have experienced adverse side effects resulting from a defective implant and you require revision surgery, you are not at fault. With the recent discovery of the process by which products can enter the market without undergoing testing, as long as they are similar to an implant already in use, we can only imagine how many products are currently on the market that have the potential to cause harm to consumers. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a defective product and now require revision surgery, you should contact a defective product attorney immediately. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and an experienced lawyer can help effectively guide you through the legal process.