Product News and Recalls

Researchers: Women shouldn’t get metal hip implants

Researchers in the U.K. have recommended that women not receive all-metal hip replacements because of the procedure’s early failure rate, Bloomberg reports.

In a study published in the Lancet medical journal, scientists who analyzed data from the National Joint Registry for England and Wales found that women experience more problems than men in the seven years after surgery. They also found that “metal-on-metal” resurfacing implants fail more quickly than total hip replacements made of other materials, with the failure rate as much as five times higher for females.

In September 2011, Bloomberg notes, the registry said a hip implant manufactured by Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Orthopaedics division was removed or replaced 29 percent of the time after six years, compared with a 9.5 percent failure rate for all metal-on-metal implants.

Although Johnson & Johnson recalled the DePuy implants in 2010, internal company documents have since come to light revealing that the company was aware of the problems accompanying the devices for years, yet actively tried to suppress that information.

According to Bloomberg, authors of the study published in the Lancet looked at National Joint Registry data on 434,650 hip operations performed from April 2003 through September 2011, of which 31,932 were resurfacings. The registry contains 1.2 million records covering hip, knee, ankle, elbow and shoulder procedures, and is the world’s largest database.

In metal resurfacing, both the damaged hip ball and the hip socket are coated with a mix of cobalt and chromium. It’s more commonly offered to younger patients because it leaves more bone intact and can make it easier to perform a total hip replacement if needed later, Bloomberg says.

The report quotes Ashley Blom, professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Bristol’s School of Clinical Sciences in England and one of study authors, as saying: “In view of these findings, we recommend that resurfacing procedures are not undertaken in women.”

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

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