DePuy ASR Hip Implant Failures Tied to Poor Design
DePuy ASR Hip Implants, recalled last August, may have some serious design flaws that make them prone to premature failure. A hip replacement, if it works correctly, should last around 15 years. But recent evidence suggests the DePuy ASR Hip Implant may be vulnerable to failure in as little as five years.
In 2009, some British surgeons concluded that the design of the ASR Cup was faulty. The interior surface was so shallow that it made it particularly vulnerable to shedding debris. Those doctors met with DePuy, but told The New York Times that company officials insisted the device was safe. DePuy Orthopaedics maintained that many other doctors had used it successfully and that it was not aware of similar complaints against DePuy.
The ASR Hip Implant System is a metal-on-metal hip implant made of chromium and cobalt, consisting of a cup that’s implanted into the hip with a ball joint that connects to the leg. It is believed that many of the complications linked to the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular hip implant are caused by wearing of the metal components, which can allow metal shavings to make their way into patients’ bloodstreams, leading to tissue breakdown, bone loss, and even the formation of non-cancerous tumors. The shedding of metal shavings can cause cobalt poisoning, a disorder that, if left untreated, can put patients at risk of tinnitus (ringing in the ears), vertigo, deafness, blindness, optic nerve atrophy, convulsions, headaches, peripheral neuropathy, cardiomyopathy, and hypothyroidism.
DePuy first notified US doctors that there were problems with the ASR hip replacement system in March 2010. Then in August, DePuy issued a worldwide recall for the ASR XL Acetabular Hip Replacement System after data from the National Joint Registry of England and Wales showed that 1 out of every 8 patients (12%-13%) who had received the recalled devices had to undergo revision surgery within five years of receiving it. By then, more than 93,000 patients worldwide were fitted with an ASR hip implant. It is believed that roughly a third of those were patients in the US.
Since the recall was issued Johnson & Johnson’s unit has been named in scores of DePuy lawsuits filed by people who say they were injured as a result of the faulty implant. Federal lawsuits involving the ASR hip implants have been consolidated in a multidistrict litigation before U.S. District Judge David A. Katz of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.