Metal on Metal Hip Implants
The hip is the body’s largest weight bearing joint. It is a ball and socket joint, with the ball at the top of the femur (the thigh-bone, also the longest bone in the body), which fits into a socket, called the acetabulum, in the pelvis. The entire joint is held together by ligaments. Since hip replacements were first attempted, there have been many different materials used for the ball and socket in replacement hips. Metal on Metal replacement hips have both the ball and the socket made of highly polished metal materials.
Since the metal ball is making contact with a metal socket in these types of replacement hips, the device may shave off molecular sized ionized bits of metal, which may enter the blood stream and cause issues in other parts of the body. Also larger metal particles can shave off and accumulate around the joint itself, causing irritation and damage to soft tissues surrounding the joint.
Metal on Metal Hip Implants Legal Action
Thousands of lawsuits against manufacturers of metal on metal hip implants are working their way through the courts on this product type. Federal Multi-District Litigation (MDL) has over 15,000 cases connected with this product class on their dockets. Other suits may be pending in various state and other courts. In the federal MDL arena, cases are now pending against Wright Medical (74 cases), Biomet (1,141 cases), Stryker (576 cases), Zimmer (171 cases) and DePuy (13,953).
- Inflammation of the joint lining (synovitis)
- hip and groin pain
- localized swelling
- changes to your ability to walk
It is important, if such symptoms develop, to communicate with your surgeon to investigate the exact cause. If it is found that the hip device itself is causing the problems, you may be required to undergo revision surgery where the original device is removed and replaced with another type of hip joint.
Due to the large volume of complaints from patients, the FDA, in February 2011, researched and issued a Public Safety Communication regarding these devices. Also in May of 2011, the FDA launched a post market surveillance study of metal on metal hip devices, where manufacturers of these products were required to gather information regarding the effects of the products after installation, to determine the overall safety of this class of devices. In January 2013, the FDA updated their Public Safety Communication, including links to information explaining the issues for patients and doctors.
Metal on Metal Hip Manufacturers
The following manufacturers are involved in the FDA’s research into adverse side effects of metal on metal hips:
- Advanced Bioresearch Association
- American Ortomed Corp
- C. R. Bard Inc
- DePuy (Johnson & Johnson)
- Downs Surgical
- Encore Medical
- Endomedics Inc
- Implantology Corp
- Joint Medical Products Corp
- Link American Inc
- Med-Tek Corp
- Orthopaedic Device Corp
- Osteo Technology Inc
- Pfizer Inc.
- Stryker Howmedica Osteonics
- Synergy Orthopaedics Intl Inc
- Techmedic Inc
- Turnkey Integration USA Inc
- Wright Medical Technology