Osteolysis disease is a condition that occurs when certain types of particles, usually microscopic pieces of plastic, ceramic, or metal, come off of a knee or hip implant due to wear and tear. This then causes the immune system to produce a reaction that causes living bone tissue to be reabsorbed by the body. Osteolysis disease can also lead to the formation of holes in the bones, which can then cause severe weakness of the bones. When this happens, implants become loose, and bones begin to break. Patients who develop this condition because of a knee or hip implant typically require surgery to correct the issue.
If you have developed the condition of osteolysis after having a knee or hip replacement surgery, it is important to understand that you have valuable legal rights that need to be protected. You should not delay in consulting with a qualified personal injury attorney who specializes in this area of the law. He or she will be able to evaluate your case and inform you on the best possible way to proceed.
Osteolysis disease causes bones to become thin due to wear. The condition is most often seen in the bones of the leg, thigh, hip, spine, and ribs. While there are other conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, joint inflammation, cancer metastasis, and cancer that can also cause osteolysis, the most common reason for the disease is complications from knee and hip replacement surgery.
As previously mentioned, any time that particulate matter from an artificial knee or hip makes its way into the blood stream, an immune system response is triggered. This reaction then causes an inflammatory process to begin which is referred to as osteolysis, resulting in the loss of bone. The rate of osteolysis can vary from less than one percent to as much as ten percent for some forms of joint replacements. Loosening of the implant, swelling, and pain are the most commonly reported symptoms noted in people with osteolysis.
It is possible for osteolysis to happen with any type of knee or hip implant. Because of this issue, manufacturers of artificial joints have started to migrate to a metal on metal option claiing that these options are less likely to cause osteolysis as compared to their metal on polyethylene counterparts. While this sounds good in theory, a study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery in 2010 found that this is not always true. The researchers conducting the study found that there appeared to be "frequent, unappreciated femoral bone loss and local immunological response" in patients who received the newer metal on metal implants. The study went on to state that the rates of osteolysis seen in patients who received metal on metal implants were similar to the rates of those with metal on polyethylene implants.
For total knee replacement patients, tiny pieces of debris from the rear side of the implant as well as tiny bone fragments can cause osteolysis disease. Even every day, normal use of the knee replacement can cause the polyethylene tibial and the patellar parts of the device to wear. If the implant generates enough pieces, inflammation occurs, which can lead to complications. The patient will experience loosening of the implant and fractures of the bone.
If you or someone you know has developed osteolysis disease because of a knee or hip replacement, it is important to understand that you may be able to obtain compensation for the injuries you have sustained. Your best course of action is to consult with a personal injury attorney who specializes in defective medical devices as soon as the condition is diagnosed. These legal professionals are quite skilled in this area of the law and will manage your case entirely, from start to finish.
A personal injury attorney will gather your medical records, collect evidence, and determine all the responsible parties to file suit against. This will most likely include the manufacturer of the defective implant, and in some cases may reach to the surgeon who implanted the device as well. Suits such as these are important for a number of reasons. They not only protect your legal rights, they also work to protect the rights of other innocent patients, so that they do not have to suffer the same consequences in the future.
In the majority of cases, personal injury attorneys will seek to recover compensation for past, present, and future medical expenses, loss of income, loss of quality of life, and pain and suffering. Since the process of recovery from having to undergo treatment for the inflammation from the immune system response as well as having to have further joint surgeries can be quite lengthy, damages sought can be substantial. In some situations, punitive damages may also be awarded.
Medical device manufacturers owe the public at large a particular duty of care to provide products that are safe and effective. They must be held accountable for their claims, and their claims must be true following extensive testing and studies. If for any reason this does not happen, the duty of care has been breached, which is a form of negligence. When this occurs, it is important to hold these manufacturers accountable and force them to pay for the damage that has been done.
The process of having to undergo a joint replacement is difficult and frightening enough on its own. Patients place a great deal of faith and trust in their surgeons and believe that only the best products and techniques are going to be used. If this does not happen, the results can be devastating and the possibility of facing further painful surgeries and rehabilitation times can be more than overwhelming. This does not need to happen and it should not be allowed to happen. A personal injury attorney will work hard in your corner to ensure that major medical device manufacturers are not able to continue down this road, and will help you to be able to pick up the broken pieces of your life.