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Proper Joint Alignment Could Avoid Many Hip Replacement Surgeries

Posted on October 31, 2011

DePuy Pinnacle and other brands of hip replacement devices are failing at an alarming rate and leading many recipients to file DePuy Pinnacle lawsuits in attempts to obtain compensation for the pain and suffering caused by their failed hip implants.

Recently, Dr. Lou Pack, an orthopedic surgeon who practices in the Atlanta area, wrote an editorial that appeared on CNN.com, stating that poor joint alignment accounts for a great many cases of osteoarthritis, and that if doctors took the initiative to help patients achieve proper alignment of their affected joints, many hip replacement and knee replacement surgeries could be avoided.

CNN Investigates Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacements

Dr. Pack mentions an ongoing report conducted by NBC Nightly News on metal-on-metal hip replacement failures, including those manufactured by DePuy. Referring to the DePuy ASR recall, Pack believes that, “With all the recalls on our parts, you would think we were cars.” He also quotes NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, who said, “So far this year, the FDA has received nearly 11,000…complaints about metal-on-metal implants.”

According to figures cited from the National Center for Health Statistics, there were more than half a million knee and hip replacements performed in 2004. Researchers are predicting, based on current trends, that the annual costs for knee and hip replacement surgeries will reach a staggering $62.5 billion by 2015. In addition, the implants have finite life-spans, so obviously, what is being done is not working. Even though Pack is a trained surgeon, he claims that “the best surgery is one you can avoid.”

Improper Alignment an Overlooked Osteoarthritis Culprit

Pack compares the improper joint alignment many people experience to improperly aligned tires on a car. He says, “Although many factors are involved, the average car’s tires will wear out in about 40,000 miles. It can also be assumed that if you live to 80 or 90 years of age, some of your cartilage will also wear out … But you also know that you can drive just 10,000 miles in poor alignment and get far greater wear than you may have at 40,000 miles with properly aligned tires. That’s exactly what happens to us: We get osteoarthritis of a particular weight-bearing joint because of improper alignment, which increases friction and pressure on a localized area of that joint, causing it to wear unevenly and prematurely.

Dr. Pack mentions prior studies that have been published in prestigious medical publications such as the Journal of the American Medical Association that illustrate the effect abnormal alignment can have on the joints. Often, an abnormal alignment of only five degrees can cause problems, and findings from studies conducted confirm that the risk of developing osteoarthritis increases by about 55 percent for each degree a joint is misaligned. He believes, “Abnormal alignment … is the root cause of osteoarthritis, and until we accept this, we cannot prevent or stop this disease. It is high time we focus on this, instead of continually trying to produce a better run-flat tire.”

Protect Your Rights as a Consumer

The Rottenstein Law Group’s hip replacement lawyers have over 25 years of collective experience advocating for clients in consumer products injury cases. If you feel you have been injured by a defective DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement, you may have grounds to file a DePuy Pinnacle lawsuit and receive compensation. Just fill out our convenient contact form, and one of our lawyers will be in touch.