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Hip Replacement Problems and Recalls


Hip joint deterioration can lead patients to undergo a hip replacement. Hip replacement surgery is one of the most common joint replacement procedures performed in the U.S. Many people find relief with this surgery and go on to live active, productive lives. Some, however, have suffered debilitating side effects.

Some patients receive metal-on-metal hip implants in which both the ball and the socket are made of metal. Recent studies show that metal-on-metal hip implants have high failure rates, and some experts want to ban the use of these implants. Surgery to fix or replace implants happens more often in patients with metal-on-metal implants versus those who have ceramic or plastic joints. Hip implants are usually expected to last 10 years; however the metal-on-metal implants are more likely to need repair after five years.

Metal-on-metal hip implants often fail prematurely and pose serious health problems. When the friction of the metal-on-metal hip replacement releases metal shavings and dust into nearby tissues and blood, this can lead to many painful side effects including cobalt poisoning, severe inflammatory reactions, loss of mobility, pain in the groin, breakdown of muscles, tendons and other soft tissue, and bone loss. The implants are linked to high levels of potentially toxic metals in the bloodstream. Patients with metal-on-metal hip implants are encouraged to have yearly blood tests to make sure the implant is not causing them danger. If pain, swelling, or reduced movement occur, patients should get a MRI scan to check for any damage in case the joint needs to be removed.

The DePuy ASR and certain DePuy Pinnacle, Stryker Rejuvenate and Stryker AGB II, Wright Profemur-Z hip system, and the Zimmer Durom Cup are all metal implants or contain metal components which come in contact with each other, leading to friction that releases metallic particles.

Symptoms and side effects of hip implant failure
Patients who have received all-metal implants should be aware of symptoms which may indicate that their device is not functioning properly. Common symptoms and side effects may include: regular and prolonged pain in the groin, hip or leg, swelling at or near the hip joint, a grinding sensation, or a limp or change in walking ability.

DePuy implants
In 2010, DePuy recalled the ASR Hip Resurfacing System and the ASR XL Acetabular System, as well as certain Pinnacle hip implants, after they were linked to high failure rates. Some reported side effects include: cup loosening or failing to bond to bone, bone fracture, dislocation of implant where the two parts of the implant are no longer aligned, pseudo tumor–a soft tissue mass that may be the result of a toxic reaction to metal particles and metal wear debris, and an adverse tissue reaction to metal particles and ions. Patients with these implants were forced to undergo painful and expensive operations after their devices failed.

Stryker implants
In June 2012, Stryker Corporation recalled its Rejuvenate modular hip device and in July 2012 its ABG II device. Stryker Rejuvenate modular-neck hip stem system uses a ceramic component and does not involve a metal ball rubbing against a metal socket. However, the neck is made of chromium and cobalt, and the stem is coated with titanium. This can cause similar complications as other defective hip implants, including the release of toxic metals into the surrounding tissue and bloodstream. The Rejuvenate device was marketed to younger patients as a hip implant that would fit better, provide better range of motion, and last 15 to 20 years longer than hip implants are expected to last. This is inaccurate since some patients needed revision surgery to remove the Rejuvenate device relatively soon after implantation. Adverse side effects include: metallosis, bone and tissue damage, necrosis of tissue, osteolysis, infection, inflammation and swelling, mobility problems, pseudo tumors, and loosening of the implant.

Wright Medical implants
The Profemur-Z modular hip system was marketed as being a more durable product than other artificial hip implants and as one especially suited for persons with active lifestyles. Complaints charge that the titanium Profemur-Z modular neck is prone to fretting, degradation, and fracture.

Zimmer implants
First sold in the U.S. in 2006, Zimmer marketed its metal-on-metal Durom Cup implant as providing a greater range of motion and less wear than traditional hip replacement components. In July 2008, Zimmer announced the suspension of Durom sales. Complaints charged that the Durom Cup was defective and led to the premature failure of the implant.

If you or a family member have had to undergo replacement surgery for a defective hip implant or have been told your prosthetic hip must be replaced, please call Hutton & Hutton for a free consultation.