Thank you for visiting our website for information about defective artificial hip replacements. For the most part prosthetic hips and replacement joints have been extremely safe and successful. No doubt hip replacement surgery has tremendously increased the quality of life for millions of patients worldwide. The hip joints used by surgeons are products that are invented, developed, tested and patented by large pharmaceutical or medical device companies. Unlike purchasing a car, you as a consumer, are usually given no choice, or even any information from your surgeon in purchasing this vital body part. After spending millions of dollars developing and manufacturing these products, the manufacturers will spend millions of marketing dollars in convincing orthopedic and hip replacement surgeons that their product is the best. Unfortunately, there are some artificial hips that have functioned safely, but there are others that have turned out to be lemons.
The selection of the product by a surgeon is often a complex decision. Because of that, many surgeons will use different hip products for different medical reasons. Certain patients require a partial replacement, others, with strong bone growth can opt for a cementless product, while others may require a product that can be cemented into place.
Different surgeons use different techniques and for familiarity or convenience may opt for a particular product. Under certain circumstances, the cost and availability of the device may even influence the decision
For this reason, we as lawyers look to “Products Liability Law” to hold the manufacturers of unsafe hip replacement products accountable to the consumers who trusted their doctors in selecting, what the surgeons believed, were good and safe products.
METAL ON METAL HIP… The most recent potentially unsafe product…read on….
As lawyers our recent attention has been to one class of hip product that is commonly referred to by orthopedic physicians as “metal on metal” hip. The other product alternative is ceramic or polyethylene (plastic). Like all hip replacement surgeries there are the usual complications; but recent studies have alerted the public to some real dangers, specifically about a medical condition called metalosis . We all know that anything that ends with “osis” is not a good thing to have, and neither is metalosis.
Metalosis is a disease caused by metal. Recent studies in the prestigious British Journal of Medicine, which is England’s version of Journal of American Medical Association, have warned the public about patient’s medical sensitivity and potential dangers of metical particle debris. You see, as these hips wear out, the particles are free to enter other parts of a patient’s body through a person’s blood stream. These hip products are normally made of cobalt and chromium, which would be safe if those metals stayed on the hip prosthesis, but they become dangerous to a person once they enter the blood.
Don’t take it from us as lawyers, but read this direct quote from the British Journal:
Not all patients’ hips wear out causing metalosis, but as the article above states, hundreds of thousands of patients may have been exposed to toxic substances. Once that happens, other medical conditions may occur. These conditions can cause neurological injuries to the brain and nervous systems of patient.
But the condition can cause side effects even at the hip.
Medical particle debris from wearing hips have caused a condition called pseudo-tumors, that are soft tissue masses containing necrotic (dead) tissue forming around the hip joint area. The exact cause is unknown, but it does affect more women than men. Contact with metals can cause inconvenient immune reactions such as skin hives, eczema, redness and itching. But it may cause increased risk of bladder cancer and other neurologic conditions such as dementia.
Fortunately, for the public this data has been released and now concerned patients can be comforted in knowing that blood tests can safely determine if they are at risk for the side effects of metalosis and most surgeons have stopped using metal on metal products. In fact, orthopedic surgeons at the Mayo Clinic have reported reducing by 80 percent their use of metal-on-metal implants over the last year and instead opting for other products using metal and plastic.
MORE PROBLEMS FOR DEPUY ORTHOPEDICS …
Many of this metal on metal hip products are actually manufactured by Depuy Orthopaedics, a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson Medical Products Groups. DePuy, a multinational company was acquired by J & J in 1998, has recently had its share of legal problems arising out of its defective ASR hip replacement product. As a matter of fact, the product was recalled by the FDA in August of 2010.
In fact, in May, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) asked DePuy and 20 other manufacturers of metal-on-metal hip implants to conduct safety studies aimed at determining how often they fail prematurely, and if these devices are shedding dangerous amounts of metallic debris in patients. However, it will likely be years before those studies are completed.
The DePuy ASR Metal on Metal Hip Replacement System first became available in the United States in 2005 when Johnson & Johnson was given special clearance by the FDA to market the ASR product without first performing specific clinical trials. Clinical trials are tests normally required to determine the safety of a drug or medical device. Five years later the product was recalled due to the following reason:
1 in 8 DePuy ASR implants has failed
Here are the symptoms:
- Swelling or pain in the effected hip or surrounding areas
- Difficulty walking or pain in the hip when doing so
- Grinding or popping noises originating in the hip area
- Inflammation or infection in the affected hip
- Dislocation or improper positioning of the implant
Even if ASR Hip is replaced, it can leave behind dangerous, metal fragments that may not be discovered for years.
You may ask, “How does something like an artificial hip fail?”
Well, DePuy identified reasons for the failure of the hip replacement system as component loosening, component misalignment, infection, fracture of the bone, dislocation, metal sensitivity and pain; and additional complications from the hip replacement system may include increased metal ion levels in the blood, bone staining, necrosis, swelling, nerve damage, tissue damage and/or muscle damage.
So, what does a “hip patient” need to know and need to do? Here are our suggestions:
Suggestion # 1
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above you need to call your surgeon and make an appointment.
Suggestion # 2
Call your surgeon and ask for the following information:
- Manufacturer of your Implant
- Model or Model Number
- Date of Surgery
- Hospital where the surgery was performed
- While you’re at it, ask them to mail a copy of either the operative report.
Suggestion # 3
Do not sign any documents or settlements offered to you by DePuy.
Suggestion # 4
Save your implant as evidence if you have it removed.
Suggestion # 5
Ask your primary care physician to test you for metal in the blood.
We hope that you are one of the fortunate people who have no metal in their blood or symptoms indicating a failed hip replacement system.
For further details about your legal rights or for artificial hip and joint replacement information, contact us at 1-800-529-2000 or contact us by submitting the contact us form.
There is no obligation for you to participate, our advice is Free and there is no cost to you unless you receive a settlement.