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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant Problems

Question:

What are Potential Complications from Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacements?

ANSWER:

Although metal-on-metal hip systems became widely used in the medical community over the past decade, concerns have surfaced in recent years about a high risk of complications and other problems from metal hip implants, which could result in the need for risky hip revision surgery within a few years of receiving the device.

Metal-on-Metal hip implants involve a metal acetabular cup and metal femoral ball, while most traditional hip systems involve the use of ceramic or plastic. As a result of the all-metal design, microscopic shavings of cobalt and chromium may be released into the body as the metal parts rub against each other.

Reactions to metal particles from artificial hip implant can damage soft tissue, cause inflammatory reactions, lead to bone loss and other complications. This can compromise the hip replacement, potentially causing the implant to loosen or fail.

Although consumers were told that metal-on-metal hip replacements would be more durable, individuals throughout the United States have experienced serious and debilitating complications, such as:

  • Hip Pain
  • Difficulty Walking
  • Swelling of the Hip
  • Loosening of the Hip Replacement
  • Fracture of the bone around the implant
  • Dislocation or Misalignment of the two parts of the implant

The lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. are reviewing potential claims for individuals who may be entitled to financial compensation through a DePuy ASR hip lawsuit, DePuy Pinnacle hip lawsuit, Wright Conserve hip lawsuit, Biomet Magnum hip lawsuit or other metal-on-metal hip implant lawsuit.

TREATMENT FOR PROBLEMS WITH METAL HIP IMPLANTS

If an individual is experiencing pain, difficulty walking or other symptoms, their surgeon may recommend an x-ray of the hip to evaluate how the metal-on-metal hip implant is positioned and if there is any damage to the bone. The surgeon may also order blood tests to indicate the level or microscopic metal particles around the hip or order an MRI or ultrasound test to show whether there has been a reaction to the particles. In some cases, the doctor may recommend joint aspiration, using a needle to remove fluid from around the joint.

In February 2012, the United Kingdom’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) PDF recommended that individuals who received certain metal-on-metal hip implants should be monitored for the life of their hip replacement, even if they are not experiencing any complications or problems.

The precautionary measure was recommended due to the growing number of individuals who have experienced issues with metal hip implants, indicating that more closely monitoring patients will allow doctors to pick up on any potential complications earlier and hopefully avoid more complex surgery.

Similar recommendations have not yet been made in the United States, but the FDA has scheduled a meeting for June 2012 of their Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) Orthopedic Devices Panel to review that rate of complications from metal-on-metal hip implants and make any recommendations about regulatory steps that may reduce the risk of problems for consumers.

Although the FDA does not currently indicate that there is a need for consumers in the U.S. to check metal ions in the blood or undergo special imaging if they are not experiencing any problems with their metal hip, it is important for patients to report any new or worsening symptoms or health problems, including those that appear to be unrelated to the hip.

UPDATED: April 2nd, 2012 by Austin Kirk

1 Comment Add Your Comments

  1. I was having infection in my earlier hip-joint in 2008. I was advised & I got the Depuy ASR Metal on Metal joint implanted in my left hip during my revision hip-surgery, which was done after a 2-stage surgery in Aug\’ 2008.
    Now I am facing tremendous pain in my hip-joint area. Last week I got the required medical tests done, which reveal accute infection once again in the hip-area. Although, the Chromium & Cobalt levels are under control till now.

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