DePuy, a division of Johnson & Johnson that manufactures orthopedic implants, including hip implant replacement systems, has withdrawn its ASR metal-on-metal implants, reports the New York Times. DePuy has touted this as its way of protecting patient safety, but in truth, evidence suggests that DePuy has known of this problem for years.
DePuy has informed doctors in a letter that the ASR had a higher-than-expected failure rate in certain types of patients. Data from a study out of Australia suggests that small statured patients, such as women, are at the highest risk. DePuy seems to indicate that the problem lies in how surgeons are installing the implants.
However, evidence suggests that the metal-an-metal implants can generate large amounts of metallic debris as they wear. This debris can cause severe inflammatory responses in some patients, damage muscles, soft tissue and bone. These reactions can lead to early need to replace the implants through revision surgery, in some cases in as little as 2 years. The normal expected life of such implants is 15 years and more.
Many implant manufactures began offering metal-on-metal implants a number of years ago as alternatives to the polyethylene (plastic) or ceramic components. With the metal-on-metal, both the ball and the cup (socket) are made from metal and, as they wear, they give off metal shavings and residue.
At this time it appears that DePuy and possibly other manufacturers did not sufficiently test these implant materials and, even after learning of unusually high failure rates, continued to actively market and promote the product. If you have had an implant fail within a few years after your surgery, you should immediately contact Todd N. Hendrickson. Our office specializes in medical malpractice and medical product liability claims and can help you fight for your rights. Call our office at 314-721-8833 for a free consultation.