The complex world of medical device litigation, including lawsuits over failed metal-on-metal hip implants, is described in an article published by Attorney Alex Davis of Jones Ward PLC.
The widespread failure of metal-on-metal hip implants represents one of the worst product liability disasters in decades, the article says.
Jones Ward PLC represents consumers injured by numerous types of defective drugs and medical devices, including hips made by Stryker, Zimmer, DePuy, Biomet, Wright and Smith & Nephew. Many law firms are taking on clients with failed hip implants, but not many lawyers are actively involved in litigation with all of these above devices, spanning state and federal courts in Texas, Indiana, California, Minnesota, Kentucky, Tennessee, New Jersey, Ohio and elsewhere.
Here is an excerpt from the article, titled “Heavy Metal: Emerging Trends in Hip Implant Litigation”:
“Today, metal-on-metal hip implants are the worst medical device disaster in a generation, with up to 500,000 people injured. Many patients are undergoing costly and painful revision surgery to have their prostheses replaced. The revision alone can cost $80,000 and that’s just the beginning.
Many experience bone and tissue damage from metallosis, a condition that results from tiny particles of cobalt and chromium being shed into the bloodstream. The particles come from the device’s metal components — the acetabular shell and femoral head — rubbing against each other.
Other injuries from metal hip failure include sciatic nerve damage, memory loss, stroke, blood clots, and dislocation.”
To download a free copy of the full article on metal hip implants, click here.
Here are some more details on litigation and safety problems related to metal hip implants:
- Artificial hips fail for numerous reasons. If the patient encounters severe pain soon after implantation, it could be a sign of surgical error or infection. By comparison, most devices with a metal-on-metal design defect last at least nine months before trouble surfaces. On the other end of the scale, a device that lasts more than ten years inside the patient’s body may be nearing the end of its useful life span. The problem with metal-on-metal hips is that they are two to three times as likely as their plastic or ceramic cousins to go bad.
- Some metal hip devices are offered in multiple sizes and combinations. For example, the DePuy Pinnacle may be used with a metal liner, or one made of highly cross-linked polyethelene. If the device is used with a constrained liner, which limits mobility, different parts come into play. In most cases, the trouble spot is the surface between the head and shell. However, with the Stryker Rejuvenate, the defect is the femoral stem, made of titanium.
- The most common types of metal in artificial hips are cobalt and chromium. Device makers started using these materials as far back as 1938, partly because they resisted corrosion better than stainless steel. Nearly all patients with metal hips have slightly elevated levels of cobalt and chromium in their bodies. The critical issue is how much metal is too much. Experts differ widely on this issue. Some claim anything above 2 parts per million is dangerous. Others say 5 or even 10 parts per million is a red flag. Metal ion levels must be examined in connection with the rest of the patient’s medical history. Some implants fail spectacularly despite relatively low ion levels. In other cases, levels will surpass 50 parts per million while the patient remains asymptomatic.
If you or a loved one are injured by a defective hip implant, contact the author, Attorney Alex Davis, for a free case evaluation.