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Received Overnight from Another Person Suffering with Smith & Nephew Birmingham Hip Resurfacing

I have removed the person’s identity as they are still going through this and the problem is not with the surgeon – but with Smith & Nephew and their BHR.


BHR 3 images

Hi Earl,

I discovered your blog via ‘flipboard’ on my ipad following tweets that mention metal-on-metal hips.

I started looking for answers to my many questions after my surgeon told me a couple of weeks ago that my Smith & Nephew, Birmingham Hip re-surfacing would require revision.

I am 49 years old and my surgery was nine years ago in XXXXX, Australia and for most of that time I have suffered flu-like symptoms including aching joints, headaches, lethargy and a general feeling of malaise.

I have been to General Practitioners and specialists including a rheumatologist and haematologist.

Not one of them has suspected it could be caused by my chromium cobalt hip, despite raised ESR and detection of abnormal proteins (cryoglobulin).

S N Logo images

After ruling out lymphoma my haematologist diagnosed my condition as a “non-specific autoimmune disorder” and for about twelve months prescribed prednisolone, methotrexate and plaquenil. There was no change to my symptoms.

By late 2009 my hip had become very painful. X-rays showed the prosthesis in place with no bone damage but the MRI showed thickening of the synovium. I underwent a synovectomy in Feb 2010 to trim the thickened synovium. This surgery successfully relieved my pain.

A couple of weeks ago I had a scheduled follow up with my surgeon. The hip has been pain free but I have developed a large lump mid thigh. MRI showed fluid and debris around the joint. I asked the radiographer to scan the lump as well. It was made up of he same fluid and debris as the hip joint.

My surgeon took a sample of the fluid for pathology and ordered the chromium cobalt blood test. He then recommended revision surgery using the de-puy ceramic on ceramic prosthesis.

I have a few questions:

  1. Do you think we will see cases brought against Smith & Nephew (for the Birmingham Hip) like those currently being brought against Johnson & Johnson, and would a class action be likely to follow?
  2. Do you know anything about the de-puy ceramic on ceramic total hip prosthesis?
  3. While I have top private medical insurance, this unanticipated revision surgery will leave me out of pocket. Is there anything to gain/lose by asking my surgeon, his assistant and anesthetist to keep there fees within the health fund schedule?

Here is my reply

I thought I had a problem or two – but not judging from what you are going through.
I am 53 & had my op 3 years ago in NZ – the surgeon told me I was getting stainless steel and being totally trusting because I was in so much pain that I could hardly walk I believed him!
I now live in QLD and have Medibank Private Ultra.

Answering your questions

Question 1

I think that over the next year or so we will identify a lot of problems with S&N – you are the third one in a matter of a few days – I just had a lady from Canada – with two BHR’s but the left one has failed twice – onto her 4th operation.
Howard Sadwin in the US has had a hell year – 9 months in hospital & no hip left.
I will have a dossier within a few months to get things rolling…

Question 2

I have read up on it – but I have no background data – will see what I can find & get it to you. Guess I fundamentally don’t trust DePuy/J&J…
Ceramic on ceramic can have fracturing problems – depends on your sporting activities I guess – and they can squeak which could be damned annoying in a number settings, socially and privately!!!

Question 3

I am doing the same as my Birmingham Spectron is going to need a revision too – I am in the Public System as I didn’t realise the extent of the problem but now I do I am going private – on Monday, in fact.
I have made a lot of enquiries – the surgeon I am going to only has a “gap” of about $500 and so I can live with that – the hospital is 100% taken care of. I am using medicare bulk billing places for the CAT Scans, MRI’s etc.


Technorati Tags: Birmingham Hip Replacement, Chrome Poisoning , Chronic Pain, Cobalt Chrome, Cobalt Ions, Cobalt Poisoning, DePuy Hip Recall Litigation, FDA, FDA Hip Recall, Hip failure, Hip Pain, Hip recall, Hip Replacement, Hip Resurfacing, Hip Revision, Metal Hypersensitity, Metal Ions, Metal on Metal Hips, Metallosis, MoM hips, Smith & Nephew, Birmingham Hip Resurfacing, BHR

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