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New Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Better When it Comes to Hip Replacement Devices

Posted on June 29, 2011

Source: Rottenstein Law Group

Recently, it has become clear that metal-on-metal hip replacement devices cause serious side effects resulting in the need for revision surgeries not long after initial implantation. Revelations about DePuy Orthopaedics Pinnacle devices haven’t done much to reassure doctors and patients that available hip replacement options are any safer.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved ceramic-on-metal hip replacement components for use, giving orthopedic surgeons a supposedly newer and safer alternative for their patients. But is newer necessarily better? A recent New York Times article suggests that the American propensity for believing that “new and improved” means better, has resulted in some serious consequences for individuals who received metal-on-metal implants that were deemed a major advance over components that utilized a combination of metal and plastic. Manufacturers like DePuy, along with the surgeons who believed these implants were superior to their predecessors, wound up causing harm to thousands of recipients. The degree of danger is so great that the FDA last month ordered all metal-on-metal hip manufacturers to conduct emergency studies of patients who have been implanted with the devices to determine just how extensive the danger is. Because of these developments and the growing number of DePuy hip replacement lawsuits, lawmakers are calling for the FDA to re-think their approval process, demanding greater scrutiny of hip implant devices, before and after they are released onto the market.

Our inherent fascination with innovation has cast a strong shadow of doubt on how a product can be considered a “breakthrough” without being properly vetted. Many so-called innovative medical devices are proving to be no more effective than their existing counterparts. This holds especially true for hip replacement devices, when prior to the introduction of the DePuy ASR models, existing hip replacement components were providing more than adequate outcomes. In fact, hip replacement surgery was considered the safest joint replacement procedure an individual could undergo. According to experts, the only significant improvement to the procedure was the introduction of the hip resurfacing device (as in DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System) that was proven to be a better option for taller, middle aged men. Other data has shown that the 65 percent of metal-on-metal hip implants used in women and older patients have been the ones that have failed most frequently.

As people are living longer and trying to engage in healthier lifestyles, it is natural that they would demand more of their bodies despite ailments like arthritis and other joint afflictions that limit mobility and prevent otherwise healthy individuals from participating in physical activities. We are inundated with the marketing and advertising of myriad types of pharmaceuticals and medical devices that claim to improve our quality of life, but will they really? The more information that is revealed about how little the FDA is doing to ensure that these products are safe for consumer use, the more skeptical we need to be about what we think is “new and improved”. This holds especially true for hip replacement devices.

If you are currently a candidate for a hip replacement, you must take an active role in deciding which implant is best for your needs. Obtain as much information as possible, and don’t be shy about seeking additional opinions. It’s your body, and you need to do what is best for it.

If you are a victim of a defective hip replacement, you need to protect your health and your rights as a consumer. The Rottenstein Law Group and its attorneys stand behind their clients with over 25 years of personal injury litigation experience. We do whatever it takes to advocate for you, even if it means going to trial.

Fill out our contact form to protect your rights. You may be eligible for compensation for pain, suffering, lost wages and unforeseen medical expenses because of your defective hip.

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