Product News and Recalls

Use of metal hip implants declining

Use of metal-on-metal hip implants has been declining in recent years, in response to concerns that they may pose a safety risk for patients who receive them.

According to a Bloomberg report, use of the devices peaked in 2006 and 2007, when the metal-on-metal variety accounted for an estimated 30 percent of the market. Now the all-metal implant, with both a ball and socket coated in cobalt and chromium, makes up about 10 percent of the market.

The report quotes a financial analyst with Barclays Capital Inc. as saying: “In general, the overall use of metal-on-metal has diminished quite a bit. Physicians are cautious about using these.”

Metal-on-metal implants were marketed to the public on claims that they would be more durable than plastic. No evidence backed up those assertions because they were approved without clinical testing through an FDA loophole.

According to the report, the FDA has logged more than 16,800 reports of adverse events connected with the metal-on-metal implants. That includes 12,137 in 2011 alone, compared with 6,332 associated with other types of hip implant. The most-reported side effect was revision, meaning surgery to remove or replace the implant.

About 12,137 of those complaints involved a model from DePuy Orthopaedics, a division of Johnson & Johnson. DePuy recalled those implants in 2010, after more than 12 percent failed within five years, but plaintiffs in about 6,000 lawsuits claim the company knowingly marketed them despite being aware of the problems.

Last week, 18 members of an FDA panel meeting about the all-metal implants said they wouldn’t recommend that patients get the devices.

If you’ve received an all-metal hip implant, you should consult with a doctor if you have any ongoing symptoms or health concerns. If you have significant injuries, you should also consult with a DePuy hip lawyer familiar with the case to discuss your legal rights.

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