Defective Hip Implants; Frequently Asked Questions

There have been numerous recalls in the recent past and current on certain knee and hip implants.  In order to identify if you have a faulty knee or hip implant, you will need the serial number called Unique device identifier.  This information can be found in your surgical records.  It is here that they will record the name of the implanted device, its lot number and serial number.  This is within your medical records within the hospital where you had your surgery.  It is important to obtain these in order to determine if you have a faulty implant.  You can request your own medical records from that facility.  You are entitled to a copy of your records.

If your faulty knee or hip implant is removed, ask your doctor to keep this device until you can speak with an attorney.

Why is a hip replacement/resurfacing sometimes necessary?

Among all the body’s joints, the hip is one of the largest weight-bearers. It works as a ball-and-socket system, and over the course of a lifetime, wear and tear can cause inflammation and pain.

How many people have hip replacement/resurfacing surgery?

According to a Mayo Clinic study, such surgeries have “skyrocketed” in recent years: “The number of procedures more than doubled, from 138,700 in 2000 to 310,800 inhip_replacement_surgery 2010. The number grew by 92 percent, to 80,000, among those age 75 and older. It jumped by 205 percent in those aged 45 to 54, to 51,900.”

What is a metal-on-metal hip replacement system?

Hip replacement/resurfacing materials can include various substances, but one common type of apparatus involves a metal ball and a metal socket. Metal-on-metal hip replacements/resurfacings became popular for two reasons. One, the metal components will last longer than other types of materials. Two, because of metal’s strength, the socket walls could be thinner, allowing for a larger ball, which makes the entire system more stable and secure.

Why is a metal-on-metal hip replacement system dangerous?

The nature of the hip joint necessarily involves movement that scrapes the ball and socket together. No matter what material the ball and socket are composed of — bone, plastic, metal — the resulting friction will cause tiny particles of the materials to sheer off of the ball and socket.
In the case of metal-on-metal systems, these metal fragments can enter the bloodstream and/or corrode around the hip, causing osteolysis. Types of metal involved include chromium, cobalt, nickel and titanium.
The release of metal fragments inside the body may lead to “adverse local tissue reaction” (ALTR) or “adverse reaction to metal debris” (ARMD). Metal in the body may also lead to “metallosis,” metal poisoning.
Metal-on-metal hip replacement/resurfacing systems are also more prone to failure than other hip replacement systems.

What do medical regulators say about metal-on-metal hip replacement systems?

Beginning in 2010, British medical officials began to question the safety of such hip replacement/resurfacing components.
Health officials in Canada and Australia have also questioned the safety of metal-on-metal hip replacements/resurfacing.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in 2012, began considering the safety of such systems.

What are symptoms that something may be wrong?

Patients who have had a hip replaced/resurfaced with a metal-on-metal system should watch for:

  • Skin rash.
  • Heart disease.
  • Neurological changes, including changes with hearing or vision.
  • Depression or cognitive impairments.

Thyroid issues, including fatigue, weight cain or feverish symptoms.

What are some of the most common name brands of metal-on-metal hip replacement/resurfacing systems?

Among the systems that have been recalled since 2002 are:

  • Johnson & Johnson subsidiary DuPuy ASR Acetabular & Resurfacing System and Pinnacle system.
  • Stryker Rejuvenate
  • Stryker ABG II.
  • Smith & Nephew R3 Acetabular System
  • Zimmer Durom® Acetabular Component
  • Wright Conserve Plus and Profemur Z Hip Stem.

How often do these systems fail?

British and Welsh medical authorities determined that Depuy’s ASR Acetabular & Resurfacing System had been removed from 29 percent of patients it had been implanted in with six years. Compartively, all hip replacement systems have a failure rate below 10 percent.

According to testimony in a 2013 trial, DePuy officials had confirmed an expected failure rate of 40 percent for the company’s ASR system within five years of implantation. What should I do if I or a loved one has had hip replacement/resurfacing surgery with a metal-on-metal system and is now experiencing problems?
Contact your doctor. Treating conditions associated with metal-on-metal systems can require another surgery, though other treatment options are available.
If you believe that you or a loved one is suffering because of a metal-on-metal hip replacement/resurfacing, contact Attorney Lisa G. Douglas — (501) 798-0004, 24 hours; www.lisagdouglas.com.