Hazards of metal on metal hip implants greater than recall let on
When healthcare-product manufacturer DePuy issued a recall of its ASR hip-replacement implant last year, the company cited the device’s high failure rate; data from the National Joint Registry of England and Wales had just revealed that 12 percent to 13 percent of patients required a “revision surgery,” or second hip-replacement procedure.
What DePuy didn’t mention were the other serious complications patients were experiencing—and continue to experience.
The ASR implant was metal on metal, meaning both the ball and the socket of its bearings were made of metal. In metal on metal implants that are poorly engineered—as the ASR implant was—the rubbing of the ball and socket can cause cobalt corrosion. This releases metal particles into the bloodstream and can result in metallosis—metal poisoning.
While the ASR implant in particular was badly made, a study by the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery of metal on metal hip implants in general found implant patients had levels of cobalt 39 times higher than normal. Metal particles in the bloodstream activate an immune-system response that can cause infection of the soft tissue and bones around the implant—and even “death” of this tissue. Furthermore, studies have shown metallosis can lead to early-onset osteolysis, a condition where the body starts reabsorbing living bone tissue, resulting in bone deterioration. The cobalt corrosion metal on metal implants cause might even be a cancer risk: According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, cobalt is a possible carcinogen.
Have you been harmed by the ASR hip-replacement implant? Don’t settle for the terms of the recall without first contacting Hodes Milman Liebeck for a free case evaluation. We’re aggressive personal injury and medical malpractice lawyers based in Orange County, serving all of California. We have the experience to take on the medical industry and have achieved multi-million dollar verdicts for our clients.