Metal-on-Metal Prosthetic Hips

Hip replacement, or arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure in which all or part of the hip joint is replaced with a prosthetic implant. The most common causes of hip joint damage leading to hip replacement surgery include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteonecrosis, bone tumors, and hip fractures. The goal of hip replacement surgery is to improve function in the hip joint, increase mobility, and alleviate pain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), more than 300,000 total hip replacements are performed in the United States each year.

Hip replacement devices are made from a combination of materials, including plastics, ceramics and metals. Hip replacement devices come in a variety of designs and models, all of which consist of three basic components: a stem that is inserted into the femur (thighbone); a ball that attaches to the top of the femur (femoral head); and a cup that attaches to the pelvis. In metal-on-metal hip implants, all three of these parts are made of metal.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”), metal-on-metal hip implants have unique risks not associated with other types of hip implants. For example, in metal-on-metal hip implants, friction between the ball and cup can release tiny metal particles into the space around the implant and can even cause cobalt and chromium ions to enter the bloodstream. Over time, the metal particles released into the bone and tissue surrounding the metal-on-metal hip implant can cause an Adverse Local Tissue Reaction” (“ALTR”), symptoms of which may include pain, implant loosening, implant failure, and the need for costly and painful revision surgery.

These devices may also corrode and fail to fully lock at the stem-head taper junction, a problem referred to as “taper lock failure,” which can cause loss of mobility, pain and inflammation, joint instability and dislocation, bone fractures, leg length discrepancy, and the need for revision surgery.

Some studies have shown that patients who receive metal-on-metal hip implants may even experience a systemic reaction leading to symptoms elsewhere in the body. Symptoms of a systemic reaction to a metal-on-metal hip implant may include thyroid dysfunction, neurological and sensory changes, renal function impairment, and cardiomyopathy.

The FDA and other regulatory agencies in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada, have issued alerts and safety communications related to metal-on-metal hip implants. And many of these devices have been voluntarily recalled by the manufacturers. For example, in 2010 DePuy Orthopaedics voluntarily recalled its ASR Hip Resurfacing System and ASR XL Acetabular System. Similarly, in August 2016, Stryker issued an “Urgent Medical Device Recall Notification,” after certain of its L-FIT V-40 Femoral Heads were found to have a “higher than expected number of complaints involving taper lock failure of the recalled femoral heads.”

Several lawsuits have been filed against metal-on-metal hip implant manufacturers by patients who were injured after receiving a metal-on-metal hip implant. These lawsuits allege the metal-on-metal hip devices at issue were dangerously and defectively designed, and that the manufacturers failed to adequately test their metal-on-metal hip implant devices before putting them on the market. These lawsuits also allege that the manufacturers failed to issue updated warnings once they became aware of the problems.

If you or a loved one has received a metal-on-metal hip implant and experienced any adverse side effects, you may be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at Canepa Riedy Abele are currently investigating lawsuits on behalf of patients who may have been injured by a metal-on-metal hip implant. Some of the devices being investigated include the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System, DePuy Corail AMT Hip Stem, DePuy TruMatch Personalized Solutions System, Stryker LFIT Anatomic CoCr V40 Femoral Heads used with the Stryker Accolade, the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II hip modules, Biomet M2a Magnum, and the Zimmer Durom Acetabular Component. To learn more about your legal options, please contact us for a free consultation.

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