Product News and Recalls

Questions and answers about hip replacement

A column in the Chicago Tribune from the Mayo Clinic answers a reader’s questions about hip replacement surgery.

The questions are from a hip arthritis patient who’s 53 and in excellent health, wondering if a “direct anterior approach” would work best.

According to the column: “Hip replacement surgery involves removing part of the hip joint and replacing it with an artificial joint that has a ball component made of metal or ceramic and a metal socket that has a liner made of plastic or ceramic.”

The column conspicuously doesn’t mention the “metal-on-metal” hip joints, such as those recently sold by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics, which feature both a ball and a socket coated in metal.

Once marketed as a more durable alternative, the all-metal implants but have been widely recalled following reports that nearly half of the patients who received them needed replacements within six years. The metal-on-metal type of implant also tends to shed toxic metal debris in patients’ bodies.

According to the column, a direct anterior approach involves the surgeon making an incision directly in front of the hip and performing the procedure from that approach. It’s less invasive than some other techniques, in which the incision is made over the outside of the hip.

The column says the direct anterior procedure is preferable for most people who need hip replacement. But other approaches may be better for people who have a lot of bone loss in the hip socket, or for cases where the top of the femur bone that fits into the hip socket is significantly deformed.

You should consult with a doctor if you have any ongoing symptoms or health concerns from a DePuy hip implant. If you have significant injuries, you should also consult with a DePuy hip lawyer to discuss your legal rights.

See the column here:,0,6144728.story