Many patients suffering from chronic hip pain turn to hip replacement surgery for relief. Patients have a number of different types of hip implants to choose from, including metal, ceramic, and plastic models. In metal-on-metal replacement hips, both the ball and socket of the joint are made of metal.
While the metal design was intended to make the hips more long-lasting, metal-on-metal replacement hips have been linked to a number of durability and safety concerns. These issues have led to serious injuries and even a number of product recalls. Below, you'll find information about all-metal hip replacements, the issues and injuries related to them, and the hip replacement recalls and lawsuits that have resulted.
Common Problems and Injuries
Metal hip implants were intended to be more durable than ceramic and plastic models. However, many patients have reported otherwise. While metal hip implants are designed to last 20 years, many had to be replaced after only a few years. This is because friction between the metal ball and socket causes the implant to wear down at a high rate.
As the metal hip deteriorates, metallic particles are released into the bloodstream, leading to a dangerous condition known as metallosis. Many patients have reported experiencing complications related to metallosis after receiving a metal hip. If left untreated, metallosis can cause inflammation, bone loss, cognitive and circulatory issues, and even blood poisoning in some cases.
Most patients who receive a defective metal hip replacement will likely have to undergo hip revision surgery. During hip revision, the metal hip is removed and replaced with a new, safer model. Revision surgery can carry risks of its own, including possible infection and nerve damage. In addition, hip revision patients must undergo an additional period of rest and recuperation after surgery. That may require patients to take time off of work undergo physical therapy, and incur expenses not covered by medical insurance.
Metal Hip Replacement Recalls
A recall is when a product is removed from the market due to a potentially harmful defect. A number of hip manufacturers have recalled their metal hip replacements due to durability issues or inadequate use instructions. Metal on metal hip system brands associated with a hip replacement recall include:
A number of other manufacturers have simply discontinued their metal hip replacements, rather than issuing a recall. Although not all models of metal hip implants have been recalled, metal hips are generally regarded as having serious safety and durability issues. As a result, even patients whose metal hips weren't part of a hip replacement recall, should have their implant tested periodically to avoid complications.
Metal Hip Lawsuits
Many patients have filed lawsuits against hip manufacturers, claiming they were injured by their metal hips. Most of these lawsuits are based on product liability law. Under product liability, manufacturers and sellers have a duty to ensure that their products are free from any unreasonable defects that may harm consumers. Most of these lawsuits contend that metal hips were defectively designed and carried defective warnings.
Patients claim that the metal-on-metal design of these hips is inherently dangerous and defective because the friction between the metal components leads to deterioration and metallosis in many cases. In addition, patients argue that the manufacturers provided inadequate warnings about the dangers associated with their metal hips. If the suits are successful, the patients may receive damages for the medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering caused by the defective hips.
Getting Help with Your Legal Claim: How to Get Started
There have been numerous complaints of malfunctions, injuries, and illnesses from various types of metal hip replacements, leading to multiple lawsuits and recalls. Attorneys experienced in such matters can help you determine how to proceed, and you can have an lawyer provide a free initial review of your claim.
Contact a qualified product liability attorney to make sure your rights are protected.