Overview

There were 1.69 million joint replacements performed in the UK from 2003-2015 according to the National Joint Registry. The vast majority of these joints provide an increased range of movement and freedom from pain, but in some instances, the joint replacement surgery does not provide the expected results due to issues with the prosthesis. When this happens, the effects can be devastating. Loss of function and pain are the most common symptoms, but bone loss and other more serious symptoms can also happen.

Our team has many years’ experience successfully winning joint replacement claims.

The team maintains a top ranking in both independent legal directories, Chambers and Partners and Legal 500.

Our lawyers have successfully recovered compensation for victims of a broad range of joint replacement issues.

Types of joint replacements

Hip replacement claims
 

DePuy hips

We are investigating DePuy ASR hip compensation claims. Currently, our DePuy ASR hip solicitors represent more than 100 patients who wish to claim personal injury compensation after having the controversial metal on metal DePuy ASR hip implanted. Contact us today for free initial advice and guidance on making a compensation claim, without obligation.

DePuy hip compensation claims

Johnson & Johnson subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. is the manufacturer of metal on metal hip replacements, ASR hip replacement system, and ASR hip resurfacing systems.

DePuy ASR hip replacement implants have been in clinical use in the UK since July 2003. However, following the discovery that the revision rate of these systems is higher than expected, DePuy issued a recall of the products. This includes the ASR hip replacement system and ASR hip resurfacing systems.

Our DePuy hip experience

DePuy’s recall includes funding the costs of investigation and treatment and patient’s expenses. However, in conjunction with a handful of other law firms across Britain, Hugh James has been negotiating for the payment of compensation for all of the effects of having these implants treatments.

This compensation may include the payment of loss of earnings or nursing care. In addition, the claim will include an independent review of the long-term effects of the implant and its revision.

We are currently representing patients who have been part of this recall and have either had their DePuy implants replaced or are being investigated to determine if they will need to.

Elbow replacement claims
 

DePuy Synthes Radial Head elbow prosthesis system

The implant is manufactured by Synthes GmbH, a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson. The company issued an Urgent Medical Device Field Safety Notification stating that if the radial stem becomes loose post-operatively, the following may occur:

  • device loosening;
  • osteolysis (loss of bone) and bone fracture;
  • poor joint mechanics;
  • pain;
  • soft tissue damage (soft tissue irritation).

The company has removed the  DePuy Synthes Radial Head Prosthesis Stem from the global market.

Surgeons have been advised to stop implanting the device immediately and to identify and advise that if you have been implanted with an affected device then you should contact your surgeon if you develop symptoms such as pain, loss of function or instability.

After contacting your surgeon, you should contact the Harmful Products team at Hugh James to find out if you are eligible to make a claim.

In addition, they have advised that you should be monitored at 6 monthly intervals for up to 2 years post-implantation, with both clinical and radiographic assessments to identify possible loosening of the radial stem.

Even if you haven't been identified with loosening of your implant, you should continue to be monitored at six-monthly intervals for progressive osteolysis (including the potential risk of fracture), or the development of symptoms needing surgery to replace the implant.

In 2015, 655 elbow replacement procedures were performed in the UK according to the National Joint Registry an increase of just over 12% on the previous year.

If you have had a DePuy Synthes Radial Head Prosthesis System implanted at any point since 2015 when they were introduced in the UK and you have required or still require follow up surgery to address issues with the implant, you may be eligible to make a claim against the manufacturer and should get in touch to find out more.

Ankle replacement claims
 

In October 2019 Stryker, one of the world’s leading medical technology companies, has issued an urgent field safety notice in relation to its STAR (Scandinavian Total Ankle Replacement).

Total Ankle Replacements (TAR’s) gained in popularity in the 1970’s, and are now going through an evolution. A new wave of TARs are replacing ankle fusions (arthrodesis) which have historically been the main surgical treatment for ankle osteoarthritis.

TAR’s are generally performed on patients with post traumatic osteoarthritis. They are not as widely used as hip and total knee replacements (TKR’s).  Of the 29,000 patients who present with osteoarthritis in the UK, approximately 3000 will undergo surgery through the NHS. It has however been reported that the number of fusion surgeries remains static but that the number of TAR’s has been increasing.

Stryker’s STAR system is considered a second generation design first developed in 1978.  It originally consisted of two components but through modifications has now become a three component design with the addition of the polyethylene spacer. Over the thirty years that it has been on the market approximately 30,000 STAR systems have been sold.

Manufacturers are now on to the third and fourth generation devices. The STAR makes use of an ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE).  This is a three component system, making use of the polyethylene spacer.

Stryker has become aware of data from patients implanted with the STAR device, distributed prior to 1 August 2014 that there is a higher than expected risk of polyethylene fracture.  If you were implanted with a Stryker STAR prior to 1 August 2014, it is worth speaking to a solicitor who specialises in joint replacements to find out your legal rights.

The safety communication can be viewed here.

Stryker is warning that the potential risks associated with the polyethylene mobile bearing fracture include:

  • Significant pain, whether this pain is a new development or it has been experienced for a significant time,
  • An inflammatory response, whether this inflammation is a new development or it has been experienced for a significant time,
  • Soft tissue injury e.g. blistering,
  • Loss of mobility in the operated ankle,
  • Possible damage to the metal component of the ankle after the polyethylene fractures requiring revision of the entire TAR.

It has also given the additional warning that the fracture of the polyethylene part of the TAR can be subtle. There does not necessarily have to be a significant injury to have a polyethylene part of the ankle fail. Symptoms indicating that a complication has occurred are:

  • Increased pain,
  • Inability to bear weight,
  • New onset of a grinding sound or other noise,
  • Worsening instability in the ankle.

In the event that a patient experiences any of the above symptoms they are advised to contact their GP/surgeon.

If you  have had a Stryker total ankle replacement and believe you have developed symptoms of pain, loss of function or instability as a result, you may be able to make a claim against the manufacturer.

Get in touch with our harmful products team using the envelope or telephone buttons on this page to find out if you are eligible to claim.

Other types of joint replacement claims
 

There are a variety of other types of defective joint implants that you may be able to make a claim for.

If you have had joint replacement surgery where the implant has broken down much sooner than expected, you may be eligible to claim.

Typical symptoms of joint implant failure include:

  • Pain or aching in the joint and surrounding area;
  • Reduced mobility; and
  • Difficulty sleeping.

Over time, having a defective implant can lead to severe medical consequences including:

  • The need for early or additional surgery;
  • Metal particles from the implant causing pain, swelling or soft tissue damage;
  • Loss of function after revision surgery; and
  • Pain and stress.

Key contact

Mark Harvey is a Partner in the claimant division. He has obtained compensation for many individual victims of common but defective consumer products as well as victims of accidents overseas and arising out of travel generally.

Your questions answered

Do I need to get my joint prosthesis replaced?
 

The answer to this question depends on the severity of your symptoms and the extent of the damage being caused by the replacement joint.

Typical symptoms of joint implant failure include:

Pain or aching in the joint and surrounding area;
Reduced mobility; and
Difficulty sleeping.

If you experience any of these symptoms then your first course of action should be to contact your doctor for advice. Be sure to ask them what make and model of joint prosthesis you have.

Your next course of action should be to contact our Harmful Products team to see if you have a claim.

Some patients who have defective joint implants may not experience any physical symptoms of failure. Abnormal blood test results and x-rays can also be signs of a defective implant.

Am I eligible to make a claim?
 

Replacement joints do not typically last as long as natural joints do. Because of this, not all joint implants are eligible to claim. If a particular type of replacement joint experiences higher than expected rates of failure then patients may be able to claim.

The best way to be sure is by having a conversation with a specialist solicitor who will know which implants and what scenarios qualify to claim. The Harmful Products team at Hugh James is always just an email or a phone call away.

How long do I have to make a claim?
 

Claims for defective products must be brought within 10 years of the date that the product left the control of the manufacturer and was put into circulation. This is usually shortly after the date of manufacture. Claims must also be brought within 3 years of the patient gaining knowledge that their hip has failed.

Who will be handling my joint replacement claim?
 

Mark Harvey is the head of the harmful products team and specialises in faulty consumer product cases. Mark has obtained compensation for many individual victims of common but defective consumer products. Mark is the court-appointed lead solicitor coordinating over 1,000 claimants in actions arising out of the recall and health alert relating to the French manufacturer’s PIP breast products. He is also responsible for leading claims concerning various injuries and complaints from medical devices including Zimmer and De Puy hip prostheses.

Mark is regularly called upon by leading bodies and the media to provide legal comment on faulty product cases. Mark leads a team of specialist lawyers all of whom are experienced in pursuing these types of cases. Anyone of them will be happy to provide advice about making a claim for a defective joint implant.

How do I know what kind of implant I have?
 

If you received an implant that there is a known problem with then you are probably already being monitored regularly by your doctor to track the extent of the damage being caused by your defective implant. Regular blood tests can detect abnormal levels of metal in the blood which will indicate if the implants are causing an adverse reaction. If you have had a joint replacement, but are worried or unsure which type you have had implanted, you should contact your doctor for advice.

When components are implanted into a patient a product label will be documented in a patient’s hospital records. The component labels will record the identity of the manufacturer and all batch and reference numbers. This information is also entered on a central register at the National Joint Registry (NJR). Patients can obtain the information from the hospital they received treatment from or the NJR.

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