Metal-on-Metal Artificial Hips Fail at Alarming Rates; Deadline to Seek Settlement Approaching

Metal-on-metal artificial hips were originally thought to be more durable and longer lasting than the traditional hip implants. It was believed that the mechanical hip implants would reduce wear and lower the rates of failure and dislocation. With the advent of multiple medical studies, it was found that metal-on-metal hips were no more reliable than the traditional hip implants. However, danger of metal-on-metal hip implants subjected patients to severe side effects. One of those side effects is metallosis poisoning.

Many of the metal-on-metal hip implants contain cobalt and chromium;  when broken down in the blood stream, these can cause irreversible damage to patients. The metal-on-metal hip implants, when in regular use, grind or shred metallic particles into the surrounding body tissues  and spread throughout the bloodstream. It was found in 2010 that cobalt and chromium ions were frequently found in the blood and urine of hip implant patients. Metallosis destroys the surrounding tissue. 

In addition, the metallic particles can lodge in other organs of the body. It has been reported that metallic particles have been found in bone marrow, in the liver, kidneys and bladder. In fact, studies have revealed that high levels of metallic ions in the body can increase the risk of different cancers.

Probably the most stunning report of all with respect to metal-on-metal hip implants is the fact that they tend to fail 300 percent more often than the “traditional” hip implant. The Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  ordered  21 different hip implant manufacturers to study their respective devices. The purpose was to reduce or eliminate adverse affects of hip implants for patients. Some of these hip implant devices have already been recalled by the FDA.  Earlier hip devices had not been as stringently regulated and did not require human testing before they were allowed to be introduced into the market place. Thousands of people were implanted with what are now known as defective metal-on-metal hip implants. 

A blood test can be administered to determine whether a patient is suffering from metallosis. A person can be contaminated by metal debris and not know of its presence. Other symptoms related to metal debris can include a patient’s noting a sense of rubbing or clicking or pain in the area of the implant. 

The DePuy ASR artificial hip is defective because of the metal-on-metal design was failing at a high rate and also  causing metallosis, the dangerous side effect of its use. As many as one-third of all those DePuy ASR hip implants needed to be revised by surgery within as little as 5 years. Even though DePuy knew in 2009 that its ASR was defective, it continued to sell the implants. 

Johnson & Johnson, the maker of the DePuy ASR, has agreed to settle thousands of lawsuits for $2.5 billion.  Kreisman Law Offices is accepting these cases, but the deadline to register is fast approaching.

If a patient has a potential DePuy settlement claim, he or she must be a U.S. citizen or resident and must have had surgery to replace a DePuy ASR hip implanted for more than 180 days with the revision surgery occurring on or before Aug. 31, 2013 in the United States or in a U.S. military hospital. The settlement also involves only the DePuy ASR Acetebular hip system or the DePuy ASR resurfacing system. Other artificial hips manufactured by different companies are not eligible for this settlement. 

Those affected by the DePuy ASR Acetebular hip system or the DePuy hip resurfacing system may be categorized in different settlement parts. 

Individuals who may be eligible should have received notification from their orthopedic surgeon advising of the product recall. Furthermore, patients who are not sure of what products were implanted should request their medical records to determine what device was used. 

The other manufacturers who have marketed and sold metal-on-metal hip devices include the following:

  • Biomet M2A Magnum – this device has 3 all-metal components which have been found to release microscopic shavings or metal into the body.
  • DePuy Pinnacle – cases revolving the DePuy Pinnacle has been pending for some time in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.  As many as 4,600 of these lawsuits are awaiting trial where metal debris from the hip device have been released into the patient’s body.
  • Smith & Nephew – Smith & Nephew is a United Kingdom company that also has made metal liners of cobalt and chromium.  This device has been known to release microscopic metal particles into the body, which have been associated with blood poisoning and cancer-causing side effects. 
  • Stryker Rejuvenate – Although this hip replacement device does not include a metal-on-metal ball and socket like some of the other manufacturers, it does have a ceramic component.  But there are also metal-on-metal parts that fail at an high rate.  In July 2012, Stryker Rejuvenate recalled voluntarily its Canadian modular-neck stems from the U.S. market.  This product was defective because of corrosion, which had been reported to lead patients to complain of pain, swelling and damage to surrounding tissue at or near the implant. 
  • Stryker ABGII Modular Neck System – This system has an alloy of chromium and cobalt, as well as a stem coated with titanium.  During the course of normal use, metallic particles can be distributed into the body causing tissue breakdown and other serious health problems.
  • Wright Conserve – Wright Medical Technology had been alleged to have promoted and marketed a defective hip implant and chose not to warn patients of the potential risks.  There is metal-on-metal in its product that causes metallic toxicity in the body.  Because the metal cup and metal ball are in constant contact with one another, the friction resulting can break down metal particles and distribute those particles through the bloodstream and cause tissue damage. 
  • Wright ProFemur – like many of the other hip implants, the Wright ProFemur total hip system has three parts.  According to an Australian Orthopaedic Association report from 2009 revealed that the Wright ProFemur Z femoral stem had a high failure rate. Patients with ProFemur Z femoral stem were experiencing the need for an implant revision surgery in about 11% of all of those patients receiving that device.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling mass tort cases, metal-on-metal hip implant defect cases and pharmaceutical defect cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 37 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Evanston, Glenview, Skokie, Niles, Wilmette, Winnetka, Buffalo Grove, Wheaton, Elmhurst and Chicago (Lincoln Square, Wicker Park), Ill.

Related blog posts:

Metal-On-Metal Hip Implants Enter the Marketplace Without Sufficient Clinical Data

$2.475 Billion Global Settlement Approved in DePuy Orthopaedics ASR Hip Implant Cases

Overview of Illinois DePuy ASR Hip Replacement System Recall and Lawsuits