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Metal Hip Implant Safety Issues

Written by Ankin Law Office

The safety of metal hip implants has come under much scrutiny lately. On July 6, 2012, Styker announced that it was recalling its Rejuvenate and ABG II Modular-Neck Hip Implant Systems and discontinuing global production of the implant systems. The Stryker hip implants were recalled due to risks of corrosion and fretting which can damage or injure surrounding tissues. Patients whose hip implants have experienced corrosion and/or fretting may suffer pain and/or swelling at the local joint site. The Styker recall comes on the heels of a massive recall by DePuy Orthopedics, a division of Johnson & Johnson, of the DePuy ASR Hip Implant System in August 2010.

What Are Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants?

There are two types of metal-on-metal hip implants: (1) traditional total hip replacement implants, and (2) total resurfacing hip implant. The metal ball and metal cup slide against each other when the recipient walks or runs, which can result in corrosion and metal entering the surrounding tissues. Over time, the metal particles can cause damage to surrounding bone or tissue.

Metal hip implants, like the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II hip implants, have been associated with significant risk of developing serious complications including tissue damage, device failure, need for revision surgery, and long-term disability due to corrosion and shedding of metal ions from the implants.

According to the FDA, about 400,000 Americans get a hip replaced or repaired each year in order to make it easier to walk and to alleviate pain from joint problems, including arthritis. In 2010, about 27 percent of those implants were all-metal, which is a decrease of about 40 percent from 2008, according to the FDA, which is likely due to the increased attention on the safety problems associated with metal hip implants.

What Health Risks Are Associated With Metal Hip Implants?

As this article states, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued a report indicating that data compiled by the FDA indicates that metal-on-metal hip replacement systems are more likely to fail than other hip implant devices. Other recent data indicates that metal  hip implants are more dangerous than other kinds of hip implants. According to the FDA, metal-on-metal hip replacement devices were associated with approximately 16,800 adverse event reports between 2000 and 2011. In fact, in 2011 alone, metal-on-metal hip implants comprised 12,137 of the FDA complaints, whereas other hip replacement systems only made up 6,332 of the total FDA complaints.

Last month, the FDA’s Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Devices Panel advised that metal-on-metal hip replacement recipients who were experiencing symptoms indicative of implant failure should see their doctor to have X-rays, MRIs and CT scans performed in order to detect abnormalities. Blood testing may also be required in order to test for metal ions.

What Should I Do If I Have a Metal Hip Implant?

If you have received one of the recalled hip implants and are suffering from pain or swelling symptoms, you should immediately consult with their doctor. Symptoms of a failed hip implant system often include pain in the groin, hip or leg; swelling at or near the hip joint; and a limp or change in walking ability.

You may also wish to consult with a skilled hip implant attorney as you may be entitled to compensation for injuries in a product liability or medical malpractice lawsuit. Contact the Chicago product liability lawyers at Ankin Law Offices, LLC at (312) 600-0000 to learn more about the dangers of metal-on-metal hip implants.

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