After you undergo hip replacement surgery, you are expected to have a positive outcome lasting as long as 20 years or more. However, many metal-on-metal implants are failing in 5 years or less. And, in the past few years, the premature failure rates and design flaws of these metal-on-metal hip replacements have prompted several manufacturers to recall one or more of their products. As a result, multiple lawsuits have been filed against companies such as DePuy and Stryker.
The experienced hip replacement attorneys at the Atlanta law office of Bruce A. Hagen are here to advocate on your behalf. We urge you to take action if you have been experiencing difficulty from your hip implants, as you may be entitled to compensation.
Many different types of designs and materials are currently used in artificial hip joints. A hip replacement device is made of up three elements: the ball, the stem and the socket. The ball replaces the head of the femur (thigh bone) at the hip joint, fitting into the cup-shaped socket. The stem is inserted into the femur to support the prosthetic ball. These devices can be made of a number of different materials (metal, ceramic, plastic) or a combination of these materials.
A metal-on-metal hip replacement device is one in which the ball, stem and socket are all made of metal. Metal implants were assumed to be more durable, longer lasting and unlikely to release microscopic particles into a patient’s body. And, in fact, most metal on metal hip replacement patients report no problems with these implants. However, the FDA and orthopedists have voiced concern over the possibility that particles of metal debris may be released into the patient’s system after activity, as a result of the metal on metal contact of the device. Metal corrosion is also a possible problem. In either case, metal particles from the implant could be released into the patient’s system, causing adverse reactions, leading to conditions such as:
Damage to the soft tissue at the implant site may require revision surgery to replace the hip device. In addition, the possibility of metal ions (electrically charged molecules) released into the blood by wear on the device has caused the FDA to create guidelines for testing of chromium and cobalt in hip replacement patients. The presence of these ions may be linked to some illnesses in patients, for example in the nervous system, the heart and thyroid. And high levels of chromium and cobalt in the blood also indicate wear and deterioration of the replacement device. Patients and practitioners have reported a variety of other, non-localized reactions to the hip devices, possibly caused by metal ions, including:
In 2010, DePuy Orthopaedics recalled a metal-on-metal hip replacement implants called the ASR XL Acetabular System and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System. They recalled these implants as complaints began to mount and research showed that they were failing at an unusually high rate.
Also, the device was found to release high levels of cobalt and chromium into the blood system due to the two metal parts rubbing against each other. The British company, which is also a subsidiary of global health conglomerate Johnson & Johnson, revealed that the hazardous device was implanted in as many as 93,000 patients.
Those who received these hip replacements tend to experience loosening or misalignment of the hip implant, hip fractures or other complications. These include:
As a result, patients experiencing the above complications from the DePuy hip implants have already had or will require surgery to repair and replace the defective hip replacements. Experienced Atlanta hip replacement attorney Bruce A. Hagen represents those who have been injured by defective and failed DePuy hip replacements. He can help you recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering as well as any permanent disability as a result of having these hip replacement implants.
In July of 2012, Stryker Orthopaedics voluntarily removed from the market their Rejuvenate and ABG II modular-neck stems for hip replacement surgery, because of the potential risk for fretting and corrosion.
These hip replacements involve a metal femoral stem and metal femoral neck. The femoral stem is the part of the hip replacement inserted into your femur and the femoral neck connects the femoral stem to the hip replacement’s “ball and cup.” When one moves or walks, the friction generated by these two rubbing together releases metal ions and debris into the surrounding tissue. It has been recommended to those who received the Modular or ABG II hip replacement that they visit their surgeon and doctor. Your blood needs to be tested to ensure that you do not have high levels of metal in your bloodstream, even if you are not experiencing any symptoms.
As of June 2013, there have been over 300 hip replacement lawsuits filed against Stryker. This number will continue to increase as more than 20,000 Rejuvenate Modular and ABG II hip replacements were implanted before their recall.
Until a recent decline, all-metal implants accounted for nearly 1/3 of the estimated 250,000 hip replacements performed every year in the United States. If you or someone you know has experienced health problems as a result of a metal on metal replacement hip device, contact the Atlanta law firm of Bruce A. Hagen. Attorney Bruce Hagen specializes in hip replacement recalls, such as those for Stryker and DePuy hip replacement devices.
If you have received a recalled Stryker or DePuy hip product, you may wish to set up an appointment with your surgeon to determine what, if any, medical intervention is needed. In some cases, revision surgery is not imminent, but may be something to consider in the future.