Signs and Symptoms of Hip Implant Failure or Injury

Signs and Symptoms of Hip Implant Failure or Injury

Portrait of a Male Surgeon At WorkThey’re more than a major headache, and unfortunately they’re not that uncommon. Hip implant failure can lead to severe health issues for anyone who has had the procedure. The following are the most common types of complications, but this is not a comprehensive list; for a full list of complications, speak with your medical provider.

Types of Hip Implants

Total hip replacement procedures replace the entire hip structure with an implant; these are the most invasive. Partial hip replacement procedures are the second most invasive types of hip implants, and typically address only partial hip injuries, such as hip fractures along the neck of the femur. The final type of hip replacement implants are used in order to prevent bone loss; this procedure is called hip resurfacing.

Depending on the type of surgery you underwent, you will have different side effects. You will also have different symptoms to be aware of that will signal to you that the implant procedure is failing.

Types of Complications: Debris Related

In total hip replacement and hip resurfacing procedures, sometimes issues arise from the new cup and ball/ball covering rubbing together and fracturing off debris inside your body. The type of debris will depend on the material makeup of the implant. If you have either type of this implant, you should pay attention to the time following your recovery–if the area develops a severe sensitivity, and affects the muscle tissue around the implant, you may be suffering from a muscular reaction to the debris. This can develop into severe problems, including total hip implant failure, and metallosis.

Metallosis is a buildup of metallic debris in the soft tissue of the body, that can result in metal poisoning. Side effects to watch out for include:

  • Severe Joint Pain
  • Implant Failure
  • Implant Loosening
  • Local Tissue Necrosis
  • Deterioration of the Bone around the Implant
  • Formation of cysts or pseudotumors
  • Osteolysis

Additionally, if metal ions from the affected tissues enter the blood, and the blood ion levels increase too much, it can cause cognitive and nervous system problems, including emotional imbalance and severe headaches.

Osteolysis, meanwhile, is the condition in which the patient loses bone around the hip implant. It is a protective, cleansing measure the body takes to remove the offending particles around the implant. It is a highly common long term hip implant issue, and is estimated to be responsible for 75% of all implant failures. There are no symptoms of this complication, unfortunately, so the best step you can take in catching this serious problem is getting a regular checkup with your doctor, or even getting radiographs to detect it.

Types of Complications: Infection

This is the second common cause of complications. About 1 in 100 will develop infections after their surgeries, which start because of bacteria that grow around the implant. Depending on the type of implant you’ve received, you could develop an infection weeks or even years after the surgery. Side effects to watch out for include:

  • Increased pain or stiffness in a previously well-functioning joint
  • Swelling
  • Warmth and redness around the wound
  • Wound drainage
  • Fevers, chills and night sweats
  • Fatigue


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