Forensic Engineering Expert Discusses Artificial Hip Design


mechanical engineer expert witnessThis case involves the alleged failure of an artificial hip. The plaintiff, a fifty-nine-year-old male, was having issues with his hip, and his primary care physician suggested that he have an artificial hip resurfacing arthroplasty procedure. The plaintiff was referred to an orthopedic surgeon, and the implantation was performed without incident. Two years after the procedure, however, the plaintiff began to experience significant discomfort, which included swelling and, what was later revealed to be, bone deterioration around the hip area. The plaintiff had an additional procedure performed, in which the original hip implant was removed, and a new one was implanted. The plaintiff brought suit against the hip implant’s manufacturer, alleging that the hip was defective. Regarding the case, there was a question as to the original design of the hip and how the actual hip implanted may have deviated from it.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. How can a hip implant be compared to the original design?

Expert Witness Response

In cases like this, where a specific type of medical device is alleged to be defective, a detailed analysis of the design of both the implant in the patient’s body and the original designs for the implant (namely, the designs that were approved by the FDA) have to be compared. To do this, I can scan the original hip implant, highlighting millions of data points on the acetabular cup and the femoral head. This creates an extremely accurate, 3D model of the device. From there, I input the specifics of the original design and can compare the device that was implanted to it. With that, the actual deformities with the individual device that was implanted can be discovered by comparing the two models, and inconsistencies (and possible points that show liability) can be highlighted.

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