The Food and Drug Administration announced recently that it is gathering and reviewing information related to metal-on-metal hip implant systems. According to the FDA, “[h]ip joint deterioration can lead to symptoms such as pain, stiffness or difficulty walking. When symptoms do not respond to conservative treatment, patients may be advised to undergo total hip replacement or hip resurfacing. Patients may receive a “metal-on-metal” hip implant in which the “ball and socket” of the device are both made from metal.”
Unfortunately, recent developments outlined in medical journals and other literature suggests that many metal-on-metal implants are defective. A recent study indicated that up to 50% of patients with a metal on metal implant may be forced to undergo revision surgery within six years of receiving the implant.
These implants are defective and fail due to a design flaw for two principle reasons. First, the device slips or the shell does not sit in place in the hip and it resists bone growth. Second, the friction of the metal on metal (metal hip ball and metal hip socket) causes microscopic shavings and metal debris to be released into the surrounding tissue and blood. This can lead to a painful, inflammatory reaction in the tissue and high blood metal content. For these reasons our firm is expanding representation to include other metal on metal hip implants.
Many doctors are recommending that patients with a metal on metal implant undergo blood testing to determine whether their patient has high levels of cobalt or chromium in the patient’s blood stream. You may want to consider asking your doctor to perform such blood tests.
If you have received a hip implant since 2003, or if you have been advised to undergo an additional hip replacement surgery, you should contact your doctor immediately to determine which hip replacement device was initially implanted, even if you are currently experiencing no adverse symptoms or side effects. Complications from these devices can occur at any time.
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