Leg length discrepancy is one of the most common complaints our medical negligence lawyers are seeing post total hip replacement surgery.
Australia’s population is ageing with people over 65 making up 15% of the total population. In older age comes deterioration of the bones and joints which can lead to painful conditions like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. As a result, total hip replacements are becoming one of the most frequently performed surgical procedures in Australia. In fact, based on data from the Australian Orthopaedic Association, almost 50,000 hip replacement surgeries were performed in Australia in 2018.
A total hip replacement procedure generally involves removing the damaged cartilage and femur and replacing it with a prosthetic device. A surgeon needs be careful to try and re-create the patient’s natural anatomy as closely as possible when they place the prosthesis. They may do this by:
- selecting a prosthesis with the appropriate neck shaft angle;
- selecting a prosthesis with the appropriate head component;
- selecting a prosthesis that is the appropriate length; and/or
- positioning the prosthesis correctly.
Failure to do any or all of the above can result in the patient being left with leg lengthening or shortening of the affected leg.
Sometimes, a small leg length discrepancy can occur even in the best of hands. However, we have obtained expert evidence in previous cases we have handled that a discrepancy of more than one (1) centimetre may indicate that there has been a lack of due care and skill by the operating surgeon in performing the procedure.
Leg lengthening or shortening can cause serious complications for patients including neural stretching, chronic pain, altered gait and reduced mobility. This in turn can have significant psychological consequences.
If you have suffered leg lengthening or shortening following a total hip replacement procedure, one of our specialist medical negligence lawyers can meet with you to discuss your options. Please call our friendly team on 02 4050 0330 or make an appointment online.