Hip Surgery Infections May Be Caused By Bair Hugger Warmer

The use of a 3M Bair Hugger Warming Blanket during surgery may be responsible for the hip infection problems. This widely used “Forced-Air Warming blanket” is found in most operating rooms, and lawsuits allege that it causes bacteria or contaminants from the floor to enter the sterile surgical field.


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Saiontz & Kirk, PA, Attorneys & Lawyers, Baltimore, MD

Severe deep joint infections following hip surgery may be caused by the warming blanket, often resulting in the need for multiple additional surgical procedures to treat the infected hip.

Financial compensation may be available through a hip replacement infection lawsuit if you or a loved one have suffered problems following an implant surgery since 2009. Request a free consultation and claim evaluation.

Hip Implant Infection Problems

Infections resulting from hip replacement surgeries are rare. However, the use of certain types of warming blankets during the implant surgery process may increase the risk of this debilitating complication.

The 3M Bair Hugger Warmer uses forced air to control body temperature during surgery, which is designed to reduce the risk of bleeding, speed up recovery and improve surgical outcomes. However, safer alternative warming blanket designs were available.

In recent years, the Bair Hugger blanket has been used in more than 80% of all hip replacement surgical procedures, with more than 50,000 of the devices in hospitals throughout the United States.

According to allegations raised in Bair Hugger hip infection lawsuits, the manufacturer of this device knew or should have known that the design may cause particles from the floor to entire the surgical site. Research has suggested that the device is linked to higher rates of hip sepsis, MRSA or other infections.

Common symptoms of hip infections following surgery with a 3M Bair Hugger may include:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Warmth and Redness at Surgical Site
  • Wound Drainage
  • Fever and Chills
  • Fatigue

Individuals who suffer an infection after a hip replacement may require multiple surgeries to treat the problems, resulting in long-term impact on the overall quality of life. In severe cases, where the hip infection cannot be treated fast enough, amputation may be necessary.

Hip Replacement Infection Treatments

There are a number of different treatments for hip joint infections. However, each carries serious risk of leaving individuals with long-term pain and complications.

▸ Two-Stage Hip Revision Surgery: The most frequently recommended joint replacement infection treatment is also the most extreme. This treatment option for infected hips involves removing the original implant, as well as the infected tissue and bone in a process known as debridement or irrigation. Then antibiotic-coated devices known as spacers are placed in the cavities where the tissue and hip implants were removed. Oral or intravenous antibiotics are also often employed.

The spacers are left in for six to twelve weeks, meaning that during that time there is no hip joint, resulting in a considerable loss of mobility. Once the infection is gone, the new implant is installed.

This procedure has the highest success rate, but also comes with a high risk of hip infection complications, including spacer dislocation, spacers which may not contain the correct antibiotic to treat the infection, temporary loss of mobility, and, in rare cases, a risk of allergic reactions and acute renal failure.

▸ One-Stage Hip Replacement Revision Surgery: This technique involves having the implant removed, the infected flesh and bone debrided, and the new implant replaced in one operation.

The new hip implant usually involves the use of antibiotic cement to hold the new implant in place and to prevent future infection. It is financially cheaper than two-stage revision and has a faster recovery time. However, there is a higher risk of recurring hip joint infections.

▸ Debridement/Irrigation and Hip Implant Retention: In some cases, it is deemed necessary to leave the original implant in place. In these cases, usually used when infections are caught in their earliest stages, the infected tissue is debrided and the patient is given a long course of antibiotics. In some cases the patient takes oral or receives intravenous antibiotics for as little as six weeks, but in many cases the patient may have to take antibiotics for life.

While this procedure has the fastest recovery time regarding the use of the hip, the patient may have to take harsh antibiotics for a long period of time, increasing the risk of antibiotic drug side effects. In addition, results can vary significantly, with some studies indicating a success rate of anywhere from 26% to 71%.

▸ Suppressive Antibiotics Only: This is rarely used and simply involves the use of suppressive antibiotics to treat the infection. It requires long use of antibiotics and there is little data on the success rate for a hip replacement infection.

Hip Infection RisksThe most commonly associated type of infection with hip replacement surgery is staphylococcus aureus. About 42% of infected hip replacements involve staph infections.

In about 8% of cases, the infection is due to methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, an antibiotic-resistant staph infection that is much more difficult to treat. The presence of staph infections increases the risk that the treatment to remove the infection will fail, according to some studies.

Bair Hugger Hip Replacement Infection Lawyers

Potential class action lawsuits and individual hip infection lawsuits are being reviewed for individuals throughout the United States who may have experienced problems following a joint replacement surgery since 2009.

Safer alternative warming devices were available, which may have allowed individuals to avoid suffering these complications. Potential knee replacement infection lawsuits are also being reviewed as a result of the 3M Bair Hugger warming device.

The hip infection lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. provide free consultations and claim evaluations to help individuals determine whether this medical device was used during their surgery.

All claims are handled by our infection lawyers on a contingency fee basis, which means that there are never any out-of-pocket expense to hire our law firm. We only receive attorney fees or expenses if we are successful obtaining a financial recovery for a hip joint infection.