WASHINGTON D.C. — Despite the recalls and lawsuits, hip replacement surgery is one of the fastest growing medical procedures in the country. Not only is the industry wracked with defective products, but also it is a medical procedure with huge disparities in price.
Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurers conducted a study that found huge price variations in hip replacement surgeries between various hospitals and medical practices, even in the same geographic region.
Specifics of the Study
The study looked at 64 different health care markets over the past three years. It looked at over 53,000 procedures from 2010 to 2013 The biggest price disparity for hip replacement surgery was in Massachusetts. There hip replacement surgeries ranged from a low of $17,910 to a high of $73,987. This is over a 300 percent price difference. Across the country, the disparities remained. On average the procedure cost a little over $30,000. In some states the price was as low as $11,300.
The study explains the price disparity as partially due to health care costs being increasingly shifted to workers through high-deductible insurance policies. The irony of this in the context of hip replacement surgeries is hard to ignore. While hip implants remain one of the steadiest growing medical procedures, hip implants continue to be recalled or face extensive lawsuits.
Hip Implant Recalls
The Smith & Nephew R3 Metal Liners recall, and the Zimmer Durom Cup recall are all hip implants by major medical manufacturers that are still on the FDA recall list. Smith & Nephew was initiated in 2012 because it was found that the metal liners for its R3 Acetabular System needed a higher number of revision surgeries than expected. The Zimmer Durom was recalled in 2008, and Stryker’s recall was initiated in 2012 for its Rejuvenate and ABG II Modular-Neck Stems.
Defective metal-on-metal hip implants, such as those recalled, have been found to cause thousands of patients’ significant health problems. It was found the metal parts would rub together or slip out of place. In addition, the metal coating of the parts has been found to flake off into the bloodstream. All of these problems cause infection, immobility, chronic pain, swelling, fractures, nerve damage, tissue death, and blood poisoning.
Despite the pain and suffering of so many patients, the hip implant industry continues to profit and grow while simultaneously refusing to take responsibility for its defective products. If you or a loved one suffer from a failed hip implant, please contact an experienced lawyer.