Increasing concerns over the risk of problems with metal-on-metal hip replacements was listed as the biggest orthopedic story of the past year in the December 2010 issue of AAOS (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons) Now. The risk of cobalt toxicity and other complications associated with metal-on-metal hip replacements has not only gotten the attention of orthopaedic surgeons, but has also caused concern for thousands of people who received the implants in recent years.

According to the AAOS, growing concerns over metal hip implant problems dominated the orthopaedic profession more than any other story this year, including the contentious U.S. healthcare reform bill, which placed sixth on the list. (Also featured on the list were concerns over problems with shoulder pain pumps and the risk of chondrolysis.)

Metal-on-metal hip replacements, which are a relatively new design, accounted for about one-third of the 250,000 hip replacements performed each year before concerns about problems started surfacing earlier this year. They became popular due to the belief that the metal structure is more durable than other types of hip implants. However, small metal particles can shed into the body as the parts of the hip replacement rub against each other.

In March 2010, the New York Times published a report that highlighted growing concerns among orthopaedic surgeons about the risk of complications caused by the metal particles from metal-on-metal hip replacements. Some experts warned that one to three percent of all metal on metal hip recipients may experience hip failure, and possibly need to have the devices replaced, due to metallic debris.

The concerns increased as the number of reported DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip replacement problems grew. On March 6, a warning letter was sent to doctors about reports of hip failures and complications associated with the DePuy ASR. Several months later, a DePuy ASR recall was issued, but not until nearly 100,000 of the metal-on-metal artificial hip replacements were sold.

Following the recall, a growing number of people who received the ASR implant have filed an individual DePuy hip replacement lawsuit, alleging that the manufacturer failed to adequately test the device or warn about the risk of metal-on-metal hip replacement complications. In addition, lawsuits allege that the manufacturer failed to immediately issue a recall when it became clear that the DePuy ASR was linked to a high failure rate.

While many other hip replacement makers have their own metal-on-metal device, manufacturers have tried to indicate that the increased risk of failure is limited to the DePuy ASR, which contains a shallow cup. However, many believe that the same risk of problems caused by metal poisoning exist with other types of metal-on-metal hip replacements. Some other metal-on-metal hip replacements include the DePuy Pinnacle, DePuy Ultima, Zimmer MMC, Zimmer Metasul, Biomet Ech bi-metric, Biomet M2A-Magnum, Biomet M2A/C2A, Wright Dynasty, Wright Conserve and Wright Metal Transcend.

In October 2010, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) issued a press release with information for patients and the medical community about the potential risk of metal-on-metal hip replacement problems. The AAOS warned that metal-on-metal hip implants can cause cobalt toxicity, a type of metal poisoning. They also warned that pain months after hip replacement surgery may be signs of potential problems.

METAL-ON-METAL HIP REPLACEMENT LAWSUITS

In addition to investigating potential DePuy hip recall lawsuits, the lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. are investigating potential metal-on-metal hip replacement lawsuits for individuals with other devices who have experienced problems requiring follow up treatment more than three months following surgery. To review a potential claim for yourself, a friend or family member, request a free consultation and claim evaluation.