Graeme's tale of woe

Years of 'excruciating' pain after hip op

FLORENCE KERR
Last updated 08:35 16/06/2014
Graeme Mead hip replacement
BRUCE MERCER / Fairfax NZ
HYBRID HIP: Graeme Mead was fitted with a dodgy hip replacement (it has since been replaced).

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A Hamilton man was crippled after a mixed part hip replacement rotted his upper right leg.

In 2007 Graeme Mead understood pain, but he hoped that would change after his hip surgery that March.

Disorientated from surgery and lying in a Rotorua hospital bed, he could feel something was wrong.

"I woke up from the surgery. It didn't feel right. I was told this was normal so I just accepted that."

For six years Mead "hobbled" around until in 2013 tests revealed the original cup was too big for his pelvis and required a second surgery to be corrected.

The cup was protruding nearly two centimetres over his pelvis, which caused his body to reject the implant.

When surgeons reopened him in 2013 to correct the first surgery they found a black "scum" around the part - it's been described as metal oxidisation from the cup and head wearing against each other.

"It's scary. Let me put it to you this way it's like getting parts from a Toyota, a part from an Audi putting it together to go in a Holden."

Oxford professor and orthopaedic surgeon Christopher Bulstrode describes the black "scum" as wear particles.

"If the ball is hanging out of the cup it wears on the bone in the pelvis and causes wear oxidisation - it produces a black scum which the body launches a massive attack against and ultimately causes the patient a lot of pain and eventually leads to them rejecting the replacement."

After the surgery Mead was only followed up once post operatively and never heard back from Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

The pain after the surgery was "excruciating" Mead said.

Seeking a second opinion, Mead was told by orthopaedic surgeon Dr Tony Lamberton an x-ray showed the replacement was oversized and had been poorly positioned.

Mead complained to Waikato District Health Board, the organisation that had originally outsourced him to the now defunct Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

An audit of patients that had undergone a hip replacement and were potentially affected was to be completed in November 2013, but that didn't happen.

READ: Top doc slams mixed-up parts

Additional reporting Amanda Parkinson

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- Waikato Times

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