According to the National Joint Registry there are 160,000 total hip and knee replacements performed in England and Wales each year. Ankle, elbow and shoulder replacements are also possible although much less common. Joint replacement surgery involves replacing a damaged joint with an artificial one. The most common reason for knee and hip replacements is due to osteoarthritis which has caused the joint to become painful and stiff.
As with any surgery there is a risk of complications. In joint replacements, these risks include dislocation of the joint, infection at the site of the surgery, injuries to the blood vessels and nerves and being left with a leg length discrepancy (one leg longer than the other). Your surgeon should provide you with information about the risks, answer any questions you may have and give you time to think about whether to go ahead.
In the vast majority of cases, complications do not occur and, even when they do, it is not always because the surgeon has not performed the surgery correctly. Unfortunately, however, sometimes complications could have been avoided and it is possible to bring a claim in medical negligence. Issues that can give rise to a claim include:
- Incorrect size of the artificial joint
- Misplacement of the artificial joint
- Damage to surrounding blood vessels and nerves beyond what would be considered a recognised risk
- Failure to diagnose and treat infection leading to loosening of the artificial joint
If a complication has occurred, a patient may need to undergo further revision surgery. When a joint fails, a patient’s mobility may be poor, they may require aids and equipment such as a stair-lift or they may need their bathroom remodelling so it is accessible. They may also require more help around the home and with personal care.
If you think that your joint replacement surgery was not performed correctly and you would like to investigate further please contact us 0161 696 6165.
We are aware that currently there are long waiting lists for surgery due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A long wait prior to surgery would not usually be a reason to make a medical negligence claim.