The DePuy hip implants and the differences between the male and female pelvis
Weitz and Luxenberg is committed to providing the public with a wealth of information on various topics related to our main areas of litigation. The Depuy Hip implants were recalled in August 2010 following a series of complications, many of which were experienced by females who had received one of the Depuy Implants. We update our pages daily with the latest available information. Please feel free to contact Weitz and Luxenberg if you have any questions or concerns about the DePuy hip implants, or related issues.
What is the Pelvis?
The pelvis is a bony ring that is responsible for supporting the vertebrae and the lower limbs. The pelvis is named after the latin phrase for “basin,” which is appropriate, considering its shape. When anthropologists and other scientists want to determine the gender of a skeleton, they will usually analyze the pelvis, because it is “the best sex related skeletal indicator.” (Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History) However, this method is only applicable for adult skeletons; it is harder to determine the gender of a child’s skeleton.
The pelvis is composed of:
Sacrum: A bone that has the appearance of a spade. It is “formed by the fusion of five originally separate sacral vertebrae.” (Inova Health System)
Coccyx (tail bones): The coccyx is “formed by the fusion of four originally separated coccygeal bones.”
Ilium: “the broad, flaring portion of the hip bone.” It stems from the latin word for groin or flank. The ilium is the “broad, flaring portion of the hip bone.” (Inova Health System)
Pubis: the lower, posterior section of the pelvis.
Ischium: The bone that is situated below the ilium and the pubis. It is especially strong, and can be felt if you sit on your fingers.
The Female Pelvis:
If you look at a picture of a female pelvis next to a male pelvis, you’ll notice that the most obvious difference is the increased width of the female pelvis. The reason for this can be traced to biology; the female pelvis has a wider build so that she can accommodate, and eventually give birth to, a baby. Height can also dictate the build of a female pelvis; the shorter a woman is, the broader her pelvis.
Other characteristics of the female pelvis include:
A less massive and more delicate overall bone structure
A slightly circular shape
Less sloped ilia bones, and anterior iliac spines which are more widely separated
A wide, flat sacrum, which provides more space for the birth canal
The pelvic basin is “more spacious and less funnel shaped.” (Med Terms)
The pelvis protects much of the female reproductive system such as the ovaries, Fallopian tubes and the uterus. One of the most serious diseases that affects these organs is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease.
Note: Shortly following the recall of the ASR Hip Resurfacing and the ASR XL Acetabular System, a study conducted by The University of Adelaide found that the failure of the DePuy hip implants could be attributed to the size of the pelvis in relation to the implant. In many cases, the femoral implant was ill fitting for the patients’ acetabulum (where the femur meets the pelvis), resulting in loosening and dislocation of the implant, or bone fractures near the implant.
The Male Pelvis:
If you look at a picture of a male pelvis next to a female one, you will notice that the male pelvis is less wide. Additionally:
The overall structure of the male pelvis is thicker, especially where muscles, such as the hamstrings, attach themselves.
The top ridges of the ilia (which you feel when you put your hands on your sides) are more vertical in males.
The coccyx “angles forward into the pelvic cavity to a greater extent than the female coccyx.”
“The hole in the male ischium is larger and rounder.” (Live Strong )
Unlike the female reproductive organs, the male testicles sit outside of the pelvic girdle. The “cooler environment of the scrotum provides optimum temperature for sperm production.” (Live Strong)
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