With the recent buzz surrounding the dangers and early failure of metal-on-metal hip implants, researchers and health care professionals are still stressing the risks associated with this type of hip prosthetic device.
According to a study published online Tuesday, March 13, 2012 in the Lancet and funded by the National Joint Registry, the use of metal-on-metal hip implants are much more likely to need repair or replacement than traditional hip bearings such as plastic or ceramic. The study further calls on all doctors to stop using metal-on-metal hip implants, pointing to the link between this type of artificial hip joint and the high levels of potentially toxic metals in the bloodstream.
The study done by British Researchers analyzed data from over 400,000 hip replacements from the National Joint Registry of England and Wales, spanning from 2003 – 2011. The researchers found that more than 31,000 of the procedures involved metal-on-metal hip implants and the results were not good, to say the least.
Artificial hip joints are usually expected to last between 10-15 years. However, what this study found was that after just 5 years of installation for metal-on-metal hip joints, more than 6% of patients need revision surgery. That compares with just 1.7% to 2.3% of people who had ceramic or plastic joints. Researchers further believe that this is an underestimated number since many patients do not report symptoms or get surgery to fix the problem.
Although DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., a subsidiary of healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson, recalled its DePuy ASR XL hip implant devices in August 2010, this is not the only dangerous metal-on-metal hip implant device causing concern. There are several types of metal-on-metal artificial hip joints that have been linked to the same problems as the ASR, due to its similarity in design components. Notably, Wright Medical Technology, Inc. still offers patients an almost identical metal-on-metal artificial hip implant which is just as debilitating as the ASR.
Patients with an artificial hip are advised to call their physician to find out what type of hip implant was installed. Those with metal-on-metal hips are recommended to undergo a series of medical tests to determine if and when a revision surgery is needed, including blood tests every 3 months to measure the level and presence of metal ions; MRI Scans, and X-Rays. Patients are advised to keep an eye on symptoms and keep a log of their experiences regarding the hip implant.
If you or a loved one have a hip implant 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 manufacturer. The lawyers at Pope McGlamry, are actively handling claims for you injury and loss.
To see the referenced article published in The Lancet, go to: http://press.thelancet.com/hip.pdf