Parker Waichman LLP

Thousands of Britons face risks posed by metal-on-metal hip implants

Possibly 10,000 or more Britons may have been fitted with a metal-on-metal hip implant in the last decade and they now face the serious and life-altering risks posed by these devices. Like thousands more around the world, people living in England are facing problems caused by their defective hip implants at alarming rates and have […]

Possibly 10,000 or more Britons may have been fitted with a metal-on-metal hip implant in the last decade and they now face the serious and life-altering risks posed by these devices.

Like thousands more around the world, people living in England are facing problems caused by their defective hip implants at alarming rates and have begun the process of seeking damages from the companies responsible for manufacturing them. According to a report from The Birmingham Mail, at least a dozen residents of Midland, England, have filed lawsuits against DePuy Orthopaedics over injuries caused by the company’s failed ASR metal-on-metal hip implant.

The DePuy ASR hip implant worldwide recall in 2010 sparked a widespread controversy over the safety of metal-on-metal hip implants in general. A high rate of early failures suffered by recipients of the ASR hip implant soon brought forward thousands of reports of complications suffered by people fitted with that and an array of other all-metal implants.

At least 100 people, and likely more, have already filed lawsuits against DePuy, a division of medical giant Johnson & Johnson, seeking compensation for the many injuries these implants have been known to cause.

Metal-0n-metal hip implants were sold as a revolution in the medical device industry. They were marketed to younger recipients than traditional patients suitable for a total hip replacement. Metal hip implants were designed, or at least marketed, to last as long as 20 years. This was supposed to result in the need for less revision surgeries and give recipients a better chance at regaining full mobility.

But for many recipients of the DePuy ASR hip implant and many others, it only took months or just a couple years for complications to arise. Popping, squeaking, and other noises emanating from the site of the implant caused serious pain and inflammation. For some recipients, the devices failed altogether, requiring an early revision or full replacement surgery to remove a defective implant.

The all-metal hip implant also poses a risk of metal poisoning. As the metal components of the implant wear over time, small metallic particles are dispersed through the body and into the bloodstream. Recipients of these devices have suffered the effects of high levels of cobalt and chromium in their bodies, causing organ and tissue damage and possibly the growth of small tumors throughout the body.

Revision and replacement surgeries are costly and painful and those forced to endure these procedures are not always guaranteed they’ll regain full mobility. Early failure rates with the DePuy ASR hip implant may be as high as 13 percent and up to 100,00o of those devices, specifically, may have been used worldwide.

In the U.S., hundreds of people across the country have joined lawsuits against the manufacturers of metal-on-metal hip implants and a first trial has been scheduled for early next year that could lay groundwork for future injury claims.

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