American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Issues Warning to Patients about Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant Surgery

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, total hip arthoplasty, which involves medical devices such as those manufactured by DePuy, is usually a very successful surgery for the majority of patients. Total hip arthoplasty, or THA, is medical code for hip replacement surgery. Hip replacement surgery involves the insertion of a hip implant unit in the affected area of the body. As the name of the surgery suggests, hip implants “replace” the original bone joint of the hip.

One of the most frequently used hip implants are metal-on-metal ball and socket units comprised of chromium alloy. Metal-on-metal hip implants were originally thought by doctors to be the safest option for patients, as they were marketed by manufacturers as having a tendency to wear out less than other types of implants. Furthermore, the metal-on-metal units feature a larger ball, which is supposed to ensure a dislocated hip does not occur. However, recent studies of metal-on-metal units have alarmed some physicians, causing them to question the safety of metal-on-metal implants.

One finding that has raised medical professionals’ eyebrows is the onset of pain in some patients after THA surgery. As a spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons stated, ìIn general, a patient should be relatively pain-free three months after any hip replacement surgery. Any new pain or increase in pain at that point should be promptly communicated to your surgeon, as it may indicate a complication.î In a case report published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, two patients reported painful complications after receiving a metal-on-metal implant. The patients were relatively healthy 47 and 49-year old males. Further analysis of the patients showed that cobalt toxicity from their metal-on-metal implants were the source of their pain. Cobalt toxicity in a patient’s circulatory system causes metallosis, a form of blood poisoning resulting from the generation of microscopic medical debris when two metal pieces in a defective hip implant begin to improperly rub against each other.

The symptoms reported in the case report of the 47 and 49-year old males are similar to the symptoms experienced by recipients of the recalled DePuy ASR hip implants, a defective metal-on-metal hip implant unit. Up to 13% of patients who have received a DePuy ASR hip implant are susceptible to metallosis, as well as disfigurement, loss of flexibility, or even the loss of the ability to walk. In light of the recently discovered risks of the DePuy ASR hip implants and metal-on-metal implants manufactured by other companies, president of The Hip Society, Dr. Chiltranjan Ranawat, MD., warns, “[W]e want to elevate patient awareness about metal-on-metal hip replacements. We suggest any patient who received a metal-on-metal hip inform all medical care givers about their joint replacement device and pay attention to post-operative pain.”

If you have received a Depuy ASR hip implant or are experiencing complications from a metal-on-metal hip implant manufactured by another company, contact the Berniard Law Firm today.

The attorneys at Berniard Law Firm are weary of the dangers associated with metal-on-metal hip implants and can advise you of your legal options to help you overcome any financial or health-related difficulties you may be experiencing as a result. As the dangers of metal-on-metal hip implants are just now being discovered, it is prudent to discuss any issues relating to your complications with legal counsel.

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