Litigation Following Total Hip Arthroplasty


  • Aneesh Dave
  • Timothy Matthews
  • Sanjeev Gupta



Hip, arthroplasty, replacement, litigation, medico-legal


Background: Total hip arthroplasty (THA) is commonly performed procedure internationally, and patients
may expect an excellent prognosis. Risks associated with the procedure may lead to patient dissatisfaction
and litigation. International data suggests orthopaedic surgery is particularly prone to high litigation rates,
third to only obstetrics and general surgery in this regard. In Australia, there is currently no body which
accurately collates litigation data following surgery.
Methods: We performed a systematic search of several Australian legal databases to find cases of litigation
following THA, and supplemented this with data provided by the Health Care Complaints Commission,
National Joint Replacement Registry and medical indemnity insurers. We also performed a review of the
current literature in the field.
Conclusions: 11 cases were found and analysed. 28% of cases were successfully litigated. Approximately
1/3 of litigation was for leg length discrepancy. Other causes for litigation included infection, nerve injury
and dislocation. Remuneration following successful litigation varied between $25, 000 and $265, 000,
corrected for inflation. The Australian data is in keeping with that of similar studies from USA and UK. The
dissemination and accessibility of this data is important for surgeons in improving the informed consent
process for their patients.

Author Biographies

Aneesh Dave

Researcher, Sydney Medical Program, The University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW, 2006, Australia,

Timothy Matthews

Researcher, Sydney Medical Program, The University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW, 2006, Australia,

Sanjeev Gupta

Surgeon, Researcher, Department of Orthopaedics, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Missenden Road, Camperdown,
NSW, 2050, Australia



How to Cite

Aneesh Dave, Timothy Matthews, & Sanjeev Gupta. (2021). Litigation Following Total Hip Arthroplasty. Medico Legal Update, 21(4), 88-93.

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