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My View:

in this article the medical “authority says only DePuy metal on metal hips are a problem (abridged)” – BUT AS ALL readers of this blog will know – Smith & Nephew BHR and other Metal on Metal devices have the same problems – the FDA has had over 500 complaints for faulty Smith & Nephew BHR’s according to the FDA website.

This is a metal on metal problem whether hip resurfacing or total hip replacement (as I had).

Time for the other big companies to recall their devices and face the music as J&J’s DePuy has had to – albeit belatedly.

Kiwis told of implant poison risk

JODY O’CALLAGHAN

Last updated 05:00 31/01/2012

About 500 Kiwis have been told their metal hip replacements may be poisoning them.

The “metal-on-metal” implants were withdrawn from the worldwide market in September 2010 after they recorded a higher than expected failure rate.

Tiny metal fragments were found to be breaking off and leaking into the blood, poisoning it.

Muscle and bone became destroyed, leaving patients in pain and sometimes making further surgery more difficult.

However, in more than a year since the recall, only about 20 out of 507 New Zealand patients who received the device have had a partial or complete replacement.

A new report from British senior surgeons has described the situation regarding all metal-on-metal hip replacements as “frightening”, given the number of patients now suffering tissue reactions amid “component failure of catastrophic proportions”, London’s Daily Telegraph reported.

One New Zealand patient who has had his implant replaced is now calling for a parliamentary select committee investigation into the problem.

James Elliott had his hip replaced with a metal-on-metal joint when he was 43, he told TV3. It was replaced in 2010 after problems with the metal components were first reported.

He said there should be a “high-level” government inquiry into how the parts came to be used in New Zealand.

But Orthopaedics Association president Bryan Thorn said the problems lay only with one particular product, made by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary DePuy, and that metal-on-metal replacements were still suitable for some patients.

In the five years to June 2011, 507 patients received a DePuy device and 18 of those were recalled for partial or complete replacement, he said. He was aware that more had been redone since, but the numbers were low.

A national joint registry, established in 1999, gave detailed information about each replacement carried out and allowed easy contact in the event of a recall.

The association ensured all orthopaedic surgeons were well informed of the DePuy issue and patients were given the opportunity to have the product replaced, Mr Thorn said.

Meanwhile, a monitoring programme was checking levels of iron in patients’ blood.

He said the cost of a second operation and any compensation claims were a matter between patients and DePuy. Metal-on-metal hip replacements can cost between $30,000 and $40,000.

DePuy spokeswoman Melissa Tyndale-Biscoe said the company regretted the impact the recall had on patients, their families and surgeons.

It was now providing support for more than 4000 patients in New Zealand and Australia.

It would pay “reasonable” costs for any patient who needed testing and treatment, including the full cost of any revision surgery required.

X-rays and other scans, travel, and temporary home care after surgery were also among the costs that would be covered for patients who needed them.

Health Ministry spokesman Kevin McCarthy said Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency had not issued a statement about the DePuy product, so the ministry was unaware of any hard data about its risks.

MEDICAL HELPLINE

DePuy is encouraging concerned patients to contact the ASR Helpline on 0800 660 026 to register and have their questions answered, or speak to their surgeons. Further information can be found at asrrecall.depuy.com.


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