Dangers of DePuy Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants

Since 2000, many patients have received DePuy orthopaedic hip implants as part of a total hip replacement or a hip resurfacing procedure.  DePuy has now recalled all of its ASR XL Acetabular Hip Systems and ASR Hip Resurfacing Systems.  In addition, many individuals have also reported significant complications with the metal-on-metal DePuy Pinnacle hip implant.  These systems feature a metal acetabulum, or hip socket, and a metal cup or ball.
Currently, it is unclear what serious, long-term health effects could result from the use of these types of metal-on-metal hip implants.  Patients who have received metal-on-metal hip implant systems have reported numerous medical complications, including popping, grinding, pain, infection and lack of mobility. 

Many patients have reported the growth of cyst-like formations under the surface of the skin.  When biopsied by medical professionals, these cysts have been found to contain high levels of metal ions.  In addition, the surrounding tissue is often gray or black instead of a healthy pink color.
Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has warned that metal-on-metal hip implants can produce metal shavings.  This metal debris forms when the metal socket and the metal ball of the hip implant come into contact.  The agency says this metal debris can kill soft tissue in the body and adversely impact the effects of a hip revision surgery. 

Moreover, Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has set forth specific recommendations for those patients who have had metal-on-metal hip implants.  First, these patients should be monitored at least every five years or more frequently if they have pain or other symptoms.  Second, patients who have received metal-on-metal hip implants should be monitored for high cobalt and chromium ion levels in their bloodstreams.  Finally, if these patients develop soft tissue reactions, fluid collections or tissue masses, physicians should consider revision surgery.  The agency reached developed these recommendations after consulting with orthopaedic surgeons and considering information provided by the National Joint Registry for England and Wales.

Many of the symptoms associated with metal-on-metal hip implants are not visible.  Increased metal levels in the blood, tissue decay, and, in some cases, cyst formation, may not be outwardly detectable.  Therefore, even if you are not having symptoms, contact The Gomez Law Firm to discuss your legal rights.


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