Advances in medical technology have made it possible for many Americans to benefit from increased mobility after hip replacement surgery. In recent years, however, medical device manufacturers began marketing metal-on-metal hip replacement products. Many of these devices are consistently demonstrating cause for serious concern on the part of patients and doctors.
As thousands of patients have already discovered, defective designs are resulting in early device failure and severe medical complications. According to one study of data from the National Joint Registry of England and Wales, metal-on-metal implants are much more likely to fail within five years.
This high failure rate means that many patients will require more surgeries to remove and replace metal-on-metal implants. Indications of an early failure include pain, swelling, numbness, unusual noises (like popping, grinding and clicking) and a change in a patients ability to walk. These signs might point to a loosening implant, bone damage or a joint dislocation.
In addition to the risk of early failure, metal-on-metal implants can cause other concerning complications. Devices like DePuys ASR system require two metal components to rub against each other. This everyday wear and tear can release metal particles and ions into the surrounding tissue. Metal particles can cause severe bone and tissue damage. When ions from chromium and cobalt components enter the bloodstream, they can cause widespread problems.
Indications of metal degradation include skin rashes, impaired hearing or eyesight, unexplained psychological changes (like depression or cognitive difficulties) and thyroid dysfunction. Experts do not yet completely understand these complications individual factors make each patients symptoms significantly different.
Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesnt know how often these adverse reactions are occurring perhaps because DePuy and other manufacturers rushed their products through the regulatory review process. Any hip replacement patients who experience concerning or unusual symptoms should contact an orthopedic specialist immediately.
Victims of defective medical devices are entitled to compensation. If a metal-on-metal implant caused an adverse reaction or required a follow-up surgery, patients should also consider speaking with an experienced product liability law firm.