Lady Gaga was possibly one performance away from needing a full hip replacement after an injury forced her to postpone, then cancel, the remaining 22 gigs on her Born This Way Ball tour, the artist revealed in a recent interview.
In February, Gaga’s tour company announced that she suffered from a “labral tear of the right hip,” which is essentially a tear of the cartilage that forms the outside socket of the hip joint. A labral tear is usually painful and immobilizing, but Gaga’s case turned out to be exceptionally severe, she told Women’s Wear Daily.
“My injury was actually a lot worse than just a labral tear,” Gaga told WWD. “I had broken my hip. Nobody knew, and I haven’t even told the fans yet. But when we got all the MRIs finished before I went to surgery there were giant craters, a hole in my hip the size of a quarter, and the cartilage was just hanging out the other side of my hip. I had a tear on the inside of my joint and a huge breakage. The surgeon told me that if I had done another show I might have needed a full hip replacement.”
She added that a full hip replacement would have removed her from the spotlight for “at least a year, maybe longer.”
Although having to cancel a major tour and disappointing millions of fans seems like a stroke of bad luck, Gaga is fortunate to have escaped being fitted with a hip implant at her young age. Most traditional implants are designed to last 15-20 years, meaning Gaga may have required revisions throughout her life, especially given her physically demanding tours and performances.
Had her injury occurred just a couple of years ago, she may have also been a contender for an all-metal hip implant such as a DePuy ASR device. Metal hip implants were designed to be more durable and longer-lasting than conventional ceramic and plastic hip devices, making them suitable for younger patients with more physically demanding lifestyles.
But what began as a good idea quickly became a disaster for thousands of patients fitted with all-metal hip replacements. In August 2010, DePuy, a part of the Johnson & Johnson health care products conglomerate, recalled its ASR XL Acetabular and ASR Hip Resurfacing devices after they had been implanted in some 93,000 patients worldwide, including about 37,000 in the U.S.
The recall was launched after medical data showed that 12-13 percent of the devices failed in just 5 years, with even higher failure rates thereafter. Pain, dislocation, inflammation, bone fracture, bone and tissue decay, and a spectrum of illnesses related to metal poisoning are commonly reported symptoms of metal hip failure.