Hip replacement surgery refers to the medical procedure in which a dysfunctional hip joint is replaced with a hip implant. However, some artificial hips are unsafe and cause severe complications. Among the most unsafe hip replacement products are metal-on-metal/all-metal hip implants.
More than 500,000 patients in the United Stated were implanted with artificial "metal-on-metal" hip implants, also known as all-metal hips, during hip replacement surgery.
Device manufacturers claimed metal hip implants – including ball-and-socket components made from cobalt and chromium – were more durable and provided a greater range of motion than earlier-generation artificial implants made of ceramic, plastic and metal combinations. Many of those claims have been proven false.
Patients who received all-metal hip implants should be aware of the symptoms indicating their device may not be functioning properly. Common hip replacement failure symptoms include:
The main problem with metal hip implants is the friction created by the normal movement of the device causes the release of microscopic shavings and metal debris into surrounding blood and tissue. This can lead to a serious condition known as metallosis, which is the build-up of metal debris in the soft tissues of the body. Metallosis is characterized by painful inflammatory reactions in body tissue and a high blood-metal count.
Another serious complication that can occur as a result of a metal-on-metal hip implant is osteolysis. Osteolysis is the loss of bone around the artificial hip while the body works to rid the particles produced by the metal-on-metal device during normal movement, which can lead to failure of the hip implant.
Tens of thousands of patients who receive metal hip implants suffer crippling tissue and muscle damage, debilitating pain following hip replacement surgery and premature failure of their hip implants. As a result, these hip replacement patients have had to undergo additional painful and costly operations (known as revision surgery) to remove the faulty metal hip implants and insert new devices.
Younger patients are more likely to need revision surgery because hip implants are designed to last only 15-20 years. A recent rash of faulty metal-on-metal hip implants has resulted in more repeat surgeries for patients of all ages.
Revision surgery is more difficult than the initial hip replacement surgery, for surgeons and patients, because even more bone must be removed and new artificial hips inserted. Revision surgery is also more likely to be fatal – the death rate for a first-time hip replacement surgery is one percent, but the rate increases to 2.5 percent with revision surgery.
If you’ve undergone a hip replacement procedure using a metal-on-metal hip implant, we highly recommend you consult with your physician. While some signs of complications and failure may be detected immediately, others may not become evident for years. Your doctor may recommend a blood test to determine if certain metals from your metal-on-metal artificial hip are present in your bloodstream.
The British Orthopaedic Association – a renowned, professional medical group – reported one particular model of the all-metal hip implant (manufactured by DePuy, a unit of Johnson & Johnson) was projected to fail in 50% of patients within six years of their original hip replacement surgery.
In 2011, following studies conducted by twenty-one metal-on-metal product manufacturers, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) admitted there are "unique risks" for metal-on-metal hip implants. A proper classification of metal-on-metal hip implants is pending, but the FDA determined few reasons for surgeons to continue their use of metal-on-metal products due to how frequently the devices were failing.
While the FDA does not currently require pre-market testing of hip implants, the manufacturers are ethically required to design safe devices and warn consumers of potential risks associated with their products. When manufacturers fail to do this, patients have the right to seek justice and compensation.
If you think you may have received a defective hip implant we would like the opportunity to review the details of your hip replacement surgery. We will need to know the manufacturer of your artificial hip and, if necessary, we will help you obtain this information.
A legal settlement can help alleviate some of the pain and suffering patients endure while they seek a solution to this unjust issue concerning hip replacement surgery. If more patients come forward, we may be able to rectify this problem and prevent hip implant manufacturers from behaving irresponsibly.