September 1, 2017 – San Diego, CA. More than half a million people could be at risk from defective metal on metal hip implants. Howmedica Osteonics Corporation, doing business as Stryker Orthopaedics, develops, manufactures, and distributes orthopedic products such as hip replacement systems. Other manufactures include Johnson & Johnson, Wright Medical Group and Zimmer Holdings.
Device failure rates are increasing and some studies show the possibility of metal leaching into the blood stream. These problems are not new. About 15 years ago Sulzer Orthopedics paid a record $1 billion settlement to pay 6,800 claims for victims received artificial hips and knees that were contaminated with industrial oil during the manufacturing process.
Metal on metal joints are commonly used in machinery and cars, where the use of lubricant’s make the joints operate safely. However metal on metal joints used in the human body can’t be lubricated. Lack of lubrication in these hip implant devices allows for friction of the part which can lead to metal flaking off and then entering into the blood stream.
How do Hip Implants work?
The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint. The top of the thigh bone (the femur) is shaped like a ball which fits into the socket (acetabulum) of the hip bone. Cartilage and fluid cushion the ball around the socket and allow for smooth movement.
When the cartilage or bones that make up the hip joint deteriorate, it can cause pain, stiffness and difficulty walking. A person’s painful hip condition can sometimes be treated with physical therapy, exercise and medications; but when a person does not respond to these treatments, his or her doctor may suggest hip replacement surgery.
There are two main types of hip replacement surgery: total hip replacement and hip resurfacing.
During total hip replacement, damaged portions of the hip are removed along with the ball and socket. The ball and socket are replaced with artificial components which can be made from a variety of different materials. There is also a stem that is drilled into the thigh bone to which the ball attaches.
During hip resurfacing surgery, damaged portions within the socket are removed and replaced with a metal shell, but the ball is not removed. Instead, it is trimmed and capped with a metal covering.
FDA investigates Hip Implants
The FDA launched an informational webpage in 2011 about MoM hip replacement implants, and in 2012, the Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Devices Advisory Panel held a meeting to discuss failure rates of MoM devices, local and systemic complications, and risk factors, among other things.
The FDA required all manufacturers of MoM total hip replacement devices to conduct post-market studies, which are due on May 18, 2016. There are currently five manufacturers of total hip replacement devices in the U.S. The requirement did not extend to hip resurfacing devices.
University of Washington’s Doctor Seth Leopold, Department of Orthopedics & Sports Medicine discusses the safety of metal-on-metal hip implants.
In the above video Doctor Leopold makes it clear that consumers have no ability to evaluate the quality of a hip implant device before it’s put into their bodies, and doctors should be able to rely on reasonable warranties and the like before performing surgeries.
Since the FDA has investigated these hip implants, and further evolution of the devices could help prevent problems of metal leaching. Most hip implant devices are supposed to last anywhere between 5 and 10 years before any additional work would be needed. Some people have discovered that their devices were not working only months after having them implanted.
But what about the huge number of people that already have older hip implant devices? This is where we come in. If you or someone you love has had hip surgery and you’re suffering because of a defective device, you need to take action to protect your legal rights. Contact the Hood National Law Group, today to schedule a free initial consultation so that you can obtain the help you need recovering the compensation that you deserve.