Data On Hip Replacement Recall Updated By Hip Recall Help Team

13/09/2011 13:07

Information about metal toxicity or metallosis has been added by the Hip Recall Help Team to its free hip replacement recall report. Abrasion of metal components causes metallosis, typically after failure of interposed polyethylene-bearing surfaces such as the ones used in the DePuy hip replacement systems. Last August, a worldwide recall was announced by DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., a division of Johnson & Johnson, of two of its hip replacement systems, the Articular Surface Replacement (ASR) XL Acetabular System and the DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing Platform. Outsourcing the recall has put DePuy under fire again after it hired the Broadspire Services to handle it.

Some patients implanted with the DePuy hip devices have reportedly been experiencing pain, swelling and difficulty walking. A blood test will be done by a doctor to determine whether or not they are suffering from metallosis. A patient who has metallosis will experience an elevated rate of cobalt and chromium in the blood stream as well as pseudo tumors and black tissue around the implant area.

Metal Toxicity, specifically involving Cobalt and Chromium, is one of the easily missed dangers of the recently recalled metal-on-metal hip replacement implants, according to the Hip Recall Help Team. High levels of heavy metals, specifically cobalt and chromium, can lead to major health problems but they do not always lead to easily recognizable symptoms right away. Not only are symptoms non-specific when they do appear, but they also rarely announce themselves as being caused by the recalled hip implants which means that unless recipients of those implants have their blood levels regularly checked, they might find out that they have high levels only after the heavy metals have caused damage to their system.

“Damage can occur long before patients become aware of any kind of symptoms,” according to the Hip Recall Help Team's spokesperson Robert M. Clarke, who added “It's extremely important that anyone who has received a metal-on-metal implant get their metal levels checked regularly.” Clarke also pointed out that patients should also seek legal advice to be sure they get compensated for their pain, expense, and losses since the primary way to remedy the situation is additional surgery. According to Clarke’s report, DePuy recalled the metal ASR hip system after it failed at a higher-than-expected rate.

This product has a five-year failure rate at approximately 13 percent as suggested by a study by the National Joint Registry (NJR) of England and Wales, or one in every eight patients receiving one of the hip implants, according to DePuy’s website. The recall prompted the filing of more than 2,000 lawsuits in U.S. state and federal courts and the number continues to rise with 700 lawsuits filed in the last two months alone. Since January this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received about 5,000 complaints involving hip replacement recall.