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Pain, Disability Plague Many with Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants

Depuy Hip recall images

Rather than the relief that most hoped would follow hip replacement surgery, many patients who have received metal-on-metal hip implants say the devices have left them in misery. According to a report from the Sacramento Bee, some recipients of metal-on-metal hips have experienced early failures of their implants, and now face the prospect of additional surgery, possible disability, and even a danger of later health problems due to metal poisoning.

Michael Stieler, 68, told the Sacramento Bee that his life has been turned upside down since he received a DePuy ASR hip implant, an all-metal device, in 2007. As we’ve reported previously, DePuy Orthopaedics, a division of Johnson & Johnson, recalled the ASR hip implant last August because of a high number of early failures. In some cases, wearing of the implants’ metal components has caused it to shed high levels of cobalt and chromium into recipients’ bloodstream.

According to the article, after receiving his implant, Steiler noticed a “clicking noise” when he walked, and it began to hurt so much that he had to use crutches and was unable to turn over in bed. After being informed of the ASR hip implant recall, blood tests revealed abnormally high levels of cobalt and chromium in Steiler’s system, and he was faced with having to undergo revision surgery.

As anyone who reads this blog knows, metal hips like the DePuy ASR hip implant have been the subject of concern for some time now. According to a report published by The New York Times in March 2010, metal-on-metal hip implants have been used in about one-third of the approximately 250,000 hip replacements performed annually in this country. However, many of the nation’s leading orthopedic surgeons have reduced or stopped use of these devices because of concerns that they can cause patients serious problems if they fail. When metal shavings to make their way into patients’ bloodstreams, they may suffer tissue breakdown, bone loss, and even the formation of non-cancerous tumors, and even cobalt poisoning.

Last month, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) asked DePuy Orthopaedics and 20 other manufacturers of metal-on-metal hip implants to conduct safety studies aimed at determining if these devices are shedding dangerous amounts of metallic debris in patients. They have also been told to determine how often their metal-on-metal hip implants fail prematurely. The FDA’s action was prompted by consumer complaints about the devices. According to an FDA official who spoke with The New York Times, the agency had determined that there were “significant enough medical concerns to warrant a broad review of metal-on-metal hips.”

Dr. Joshua Jacobs, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, told the Sacramento Bee that because of these risks, patients should not ignore pain that might be connected to their hip implant. “The symptom that patients become aware of is pain,” he said. “They should not ignore hip pain. It could be caused by bursitis or referred pain from the spine. Or it could be an adverse local tissue response.”

People who claim to have been injured by all-metal hips are beginning to seek legal remedies for their pain and suffering. In the U.S., many DePuy ASR hip implant lawsuits have been consolidated in a multidistrict litigation in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. DePuy is also facing lawsuits over its Pinnacle hip implant, another metal-on-metal device that is similar in design to the ASR implant. Recently, DePuy Pinnacle hip implant lawsuits were consolidated in a multidistrict litigation in federal court in Texas.

NewsInferno.com disclaimer: This article: Pain, Disability Plague Many with Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants was posted on Wednesday, June 8th, 2011 at 10:51 am at NewsInferno.com and is filed under Defective Medical Devices, Depuy.
  1. Howard Sadwin Says:
    I had a Smith&Nephew Birmingham Hip Resurfacing device put in me in 2007. 6-8 months later I began having bacp pain, running low grade fevers and had flu like symptons.x-rays were taken of my hip several times by my surgeon, always showing hip to be in place. My primary physician at the time, sent me to a back doctor, that doctor found nothing wrong with my back. The problems got worse; in 2010 I was using a cane to walk. I will be 65 the end of June I lived an active life,hunting,fishing, competing my labrador retreivers in field trials,spend much time with my 8 year old grandson,and time with my 3 grand daughters. I’ve worked as a real estate broker in Florida since 1980. Today I am writing to you from a wheelchair, I have no hip, I’m on dissability,not allowed to drive.

    After the second disslocation within several weeks of each other early in 2010; once getting out of bed,second getting out of a chair. I went to an orthpaedic surgeon who specializes in hip problems. He confirmed with me as did my first surgeon, one more disslocation and the hip would have to be removed. Two hours later getting up from my office chair, out the hip came. Each time I was rushed to the hospital by ambulance. The second surgeon told my wife after removing the device he had never seen such a mess, the tissue and muscle surrounding the hip area were disintegrated. I spent the next 9+ months in the hospital,for several months I was fighting for my life. I had 12+ operations, total of four surgeons. I developed blood clots, so a stint was put into me. I thank God every day for the good doctors,nurses,friends,family, and strong will for keeping me alive.

    I spend endless hours on my computor searching for answers as to how this could happen to me and anyone else.

    I question how the Smith & Nephew device was approved, especially when the statistical data used was supplied by the doctor who invented the device, worked for the company, and reportedly received over $100 million for his invention. The more people that speak up if experiencing problems after they have undergone hip surgery, no matter which company manufactured the metal on metal devices the quickerthis type of dissaster may be avoided.

    My life and my families lives have turned upside down, since this has happened.

    Bear in mind Smith & Nephew and several other big manufactures were fined $311 million for paying hospitals,doctors,and distributors of medical devices for marketing their products.

    Thanks for the opportunity to comment.



  2. Tony Says:

    I sympathise with you,I had my first Birmingham hip refsurface left side in march 2004,and have suffered in pain since,my right hip received the same resurfacing in august 2006, by different surgeon and thank fully no problems.I have continuosly complained about my lrft hip pain,have been admitted to and spent several weeks in hospitals relating to left hip or knee problems.

    I have recently travelled interstate to get 2nd opinion on cause of ongoing pain issues,the Melbourne,Australia surgeon has advised me to have an athroscapacy in my left hip as the surgeons are reluctant to replace the resurfaced left hip, as they are unsure if they can improve my standard of living and pain issues.Partialy due to blood clot issurs after right hip operation,and I guess they go not want to fix potential unexplainable problems created in my first resurfacing operation.I am very thankful for support of my family and 2nd surgeons attempts to identify my ongoing suffering.I support your efforts to high lite the hidden financial benifits paid to the docters to promite unproven products!

    Anthony Sobey


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