Product News and Recalls

Use of metal hip implants declining

Although metal-on-metal hip implants are still on the market, despite their well-documented problems, their use is declining, according to a Chicago Tribune story.

A Chicago Tribune report on the devices mentions a survey taken by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in 2010, which showed 16 percent of surgeons were using metal-on-metal implants before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned of potential problems. That number dropped to 10 percent since the FDA warning, and doctors say the number has likely dropped further.

The metal-on-metal hip implants, with both a ball and a socket coated in a combination of cobalt and chromium, were initially marketed as a more durable alternative to plastic and ceramic models. A study released last March by the British Orthopaedic Association and the British Hip Society indicated that 49 percent of metal-on-metal hip devices fail after six years.

The metal-on-metal type of implants also have a tendency to give off toxic metal debris. That The Tribune says that condition, called metallosis, can lead to cardiovascular, neurological, renal and thyroid problems, in addition to destroying soft tissue, muscle and bone.

A total of 500,000 patients in the United States have received metal-on-metal hips, according to government data. And according to the Tribune, many doctors are predicting that many more reports of premature failure will come in the years ahead.

The report quotes Dr. Mary O’Connor, an orthopedic surgeon at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, as saying: “We’re simply seeing the tip of the iceberg with metal-on-metal failures.”

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.