Many thousands of people throughout the world have suffered substantial injuries, exposure to toxic metals, and unnecessary surgery as a result of defective and dangerous hip replacement devices. Despite the fact that the risks of hip implants have been known for decades, the manufacturers have kept patients in the dark about the real dangers, and high failure rate, of the devices.
In fact, some manufacturers have recalled their devices because of safety concerns caused by the defects. These include the Smith and Nephew R3 Metal Liners of the R3 Acetabular System, the DePuy ASR TM XL Acetabular System, and the Zimmer Durom Acetabular Component.
The Dangers of Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants
A hip implant is a medical device implanted to restore mobility and relieve pain typically associated with arthritis, other hip diseases or injuries. One type of hip implant is commonly referred to as "metal-on-metal.” This device has a ball and cup that are both made of a cobalt-chromium metal alloy. The implant has considerable risks, and significantly high failure rates. These devices release metal ions which seep into local tissue and cause reactions that destroy muscle and bone, leaving patients with long-term disability and pain.
A recent medical journal article in The Lancet reviewed the world’s largest database on hip implants, and reviewed over 400,000 surgical procedures up to 7 years after surgery. The study found that metal-on-metal hip implants have a 5-year revision rate of about 6.2%, more than 3 times higher than other types of hip implants. After 8 years, the revision rate was over 10%, compared to about 2% for other types of hip implants. The study found that metal-on-metal implants "have poor survival compared with other options and should not be implanted.” The study concluded that all types of metal-on-metal hip implants are susceptible to "early failure.” Here is another medical journal article discussing the dangers of metal-on-metal hip implants.
Hip Implant Manufacturers
There are different manufacturers of metal-on-metal hip implants. They include:
- DePuy/Johnson & Johnson
- Wright Medical Technology
- Smith and Nephew Orthopaedics
- Sulzer Orthopedics
In March 2013, the first lawsuit was tried against Johnson & Johnson for a defective DePuy hip implant, in Los Angeles, California. A jury returned a verdict in the amount of $8.3 million against Johnson & Johnson. In May 2013, Johnson & Johnson announced it would no longer sell metal-on-metal hip implants.
Injuries Resulting From Hip Implants
Defective metal-on-metal hip implants can cause many problems including:
- Implant failure requiring revision (additional) surgery
- Muscle and bone destruction
- Dislocation or loosening of the device
- Difficult walking
- Metal poisoning
- Bone fractures
- Hip dislocation