Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant Complaints Skyrocket

An August 23, 2011 New York Times article reports “a surge in complaints” about failed metal-on-metal hip replacements including premature device failures. This report comes on the heels of the one year anniversary of healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson’s worldwide recall of its defective metal-on-metal hip implant, the ASR Resurfacing System and the ASR XL hip implant. Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., have been under fire concerning claims of the Company’s long-time knowledge of the hip implant’s defects years before the public recall was issued. The report also documents thousands of complaints concerning other artificial metal-on-metal hip replacement manufacturers, such as Zimmer and Wright Medical Technology, Inc.

5,000 Adverse Reports Since January 2011

Analysis of data received by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) evidences over 5,000 adverse reports since January 2011 concerning artificial metal-on-metal hip implant devices. This number represents more complaints than the FDA received about similar devices in the previous four (4) years combined. Of the federal data reviewed, the Times found some 7,500 complaints about DePuy’s ASR hip replacement (accounting for 75% of the complaints), while Zimmer’s Durom cup received approximately 1,600 complaints.

Artificial Hip Implant Surgery Standards

Artificial hip implant surgery is one of the most common artificial replacement procedures, with over 250,000 hip implant surgeries performed every year. Metal-on-metal hip replacements are said to account for approximately one-third (1/3) of that total.  A functioning hip implant should last nearly 15 years before a replacement surgery would be necessary. However, the majority of complaints analyzed in this report were from patients who either had, or will have, malfunctioning metal-on-metal hip implant devices removed due to failure well before the expected 15 year duration.

Long-Term Harm Caused By Hip Devices

Also revealed was an increasing number of metal-on-metal hip implant recipients suffering side effects and injuries caused by tiny particles of cobalt and chromium that the replacement devices shed as they rub and wear inside the body. Presently, medical research concerning this issue is sparse and experts are struggling to understand the full extent of tissue damage and long-term harm caused by this shedding metallic debris. Patients suffering the same damage do not always experience the same symptoms. Many complain of pain, rashes, swelling, and neurological episodes, while others with the same internal injuries, report no pain or other symptoms.

FDA’s Approves Faulty Hips

Artificial metal-on-metal hip implant devices, like DePuy’s ASR and Zimmer’s Durom cup were approved for sale through the FDA’s 510(k) process, which essentially foregoes product testing before placing it on the market. In light of the staggering number of metal-on-metal hip replacement complaints, the FDA has recently stepped in, ordering manufacturers such as DePuy, Zimmer, and Wright Medical to track and study how frequently the artificial hip implant devices are failing.

Yet for many, this endeavor to undertake findings about hip implant functionality and performance comes a day late and a dollar short, as the damage is already done. One patient/recipient of a recalled DePuy artificial metal-on-metal hip implant device comments to the New York Times, “We will be the little crash test dummies here until they figure out the health ramifications for us down the road.” Currently, there is no protocol for studying this kind of information.

Of the metal-on-metal hip implant manufacturers, DePuy is the only Company to issue an official recall. Many experts are projecting companies like Zimmer and Wright Medical could, in the near future, issue a similar recall of its poor performing metal-on-metal artificial hip implant devices.

To read the entire New York Times article click here.

Contact our Atlanta and Columbus DePuy Hip Implant Lawyer

At Pope McGlamry, our experienced medical product liability lawyers are holding the DePuy hip implant manufacturers accountable by filing defective product liability lawsuits on behalf of American families who have experienced complications from defective DePuy hip replacement devices. We are also actively investigating claims regarding Wright Medicals metal-on-metal hip implants.

If you or a loved one had a DePuy ASR hip replacement system device implanted, or any other metal-on-metal hip replacement device implanted, and have suffered complications, or experienced a hip replacement failure requiring revision surgery, you may be entitled to recover significant damages from the defective product manufacturers.

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Disclaimer:  All use of the DePuy mark is for informational and product identification purposes only. This post should not be taken as either medical or legal advice, but instead should act as a resource in providing general information that may be useful to the general public. Pope McGlamry is not affiliated with the medical device manufacturers, DePuy Orthopaedics, Johnson & Johnson, or their distributors.