As medical technology has advanced over the past six decades, artificial hip manufacturers have developed new materials, designs, and techniques that have reduced recovery time and have allowed increased levels of activity after surgery.
Some hip implants, however, are defective and can lead to severe pain, further disability, and the need for more surgery. It is important to consult a Chicago defective hip implant lawyers if you are suffering from a dangerous medical device malfunction as you may have a product liability claim.
Metal on Metal Hip Implants
One such defective hip implant design is the metal-on-metal hip prosthesis introduced by many different manufacturers in the early 2000’s. While manufacturers claimed metal-on-metal hip implants would last much longer than traditional implants, and would allow patients to be far more active with fewer restrictions, unfortunately for many patients, just the opposite has been true. Heavy metal debris from the metal-on-metal hip implants has destroyed surrounding tissue causing significant pain and disability. This breakdown of tissue often requires the patient to undergo additional surgeries.
Traditional artificial hips used a metal “ball” and a very sophisticated plastic “socket”. A metal-on-metal implant consists of a metal “ball” that rotates freely in a metal “socket.” The metal components are made of cobalt-chromium alloy—a heavy metal which is toxic if it gets into the surrounding tissue. This is the major problem with metal-on-metal hip implants. When the metal components rub together, tiny particles of cobalt-chromium alloy are scraped off. These particles build up in the body and cause a condition known as osteolysis, which further weakens the surrounding bone, muscles, and tissues. The metal can also get into the bloodstream and can cause a host of illnesses.
One manufacturer has already recalled its metal-on-metal hips. In August 2010, Johnson & Johnson recalled two of the hip implants manufactured by its subsidiary DePuy Orthopedics–the ASR XL Acetabular System and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System.
The FDA has advised patients experiencing problems or those concerned about the safety of their implants to contact their doctor for an extensive evaluation.
The lawyers at HM&M believe that these dangerous metal-on-metal hip designs were brought to market without sufficient testing, and that all metal-on-metal hip implants potentially share this defective design. We are investigating claims against all metal-on-metal hip manufacturers, including:
- Smith and Nephew
Constrained Liner Hip Implants
Hip manufacturers have also developed devices to help prevent hip dislocations in patients who experience frequent dislocations of their artificial hip joints. These devices, typically called constrained liners, include a larger than normal cup and a locking ring.
Unfortunately, some of these designs do not allow for sufficient range of motion, and the simple act of walking causes them to break apart and fail. This process, known as impingement, can cause traumatic dislocations which require an emergency revision of this hip prosthesis.
The Chicago defective hip implant lawyers at HM&M believe that these dangerous constrained liner hip implant designs were also brought to market without sufficient testing. We are investigating claims against manufacturers of constrained liners, including the Zimmer Trilogy Constrained Liner.