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Design Flaw in Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants endangers patients

The choice of Carbon and Chromium surfaces in metal hip implants may have exposed over a million Americans to serious health risks. Researchers have identified DePuy ASR XL metal hip implants as a source of toxic and potentially carcinogenic substances in patient's bodies. The metal debris generated by post-implant wear can cause inflammation, destroy muscle and soft tissue, and create other serious health risks, often before the patient becomes aware that there is a problem.

A February 2012 article in the British Medical Journal suggests that Johnson & Johnson subsidiary DePuy was aware that its all-metal hip implants were dangerous as early as 2005 but failed to warn consumers about the risks involved with the implants.

It seems unlikely any hip implant patient, or implanting surgeon, would have used the hip implants if the dangers were known. The average failure rate of all-metal on metal implants is 11.8 percent for hip resurfacing and 13.6 percent for total hip replacements, which is about three times higher than the failure rate for hip implants made of other materials.

DePuy recalled its ASR metal hip implants in 2010 and set up a fund to pay partial compensation to injured patients.

DePuy continues to sell its Pinnacle all-metal hip implants. However recently published medical literature suggests this device incorporates its own design flaws which may injure patients. A recent analysis of patients with Pinnacle cups showed a 7.7 percent failure rate related to potentially toxic metal debris, which one researcher remarked was "quite high."

Britain's Department of Health announced today that all-metal hip replacement patients should undergo lifelong testing for metal debris related to implant failures. Doctors and health advocates in the United States say that American hip implant patients are also at risk and should be screened regularly.

ASR Patients whose tests show the presence of metal debris may qualify for recovery of money damages. Such patients should contact a personal injury law firm that is experienced in handling national medical device cases and which will fight to obtain legally authorized patient compensation.

Source: BBC News, "MHRA: Metal hip implant patients need life-long checks," Feb. 28, 2012; BMJ, "How safe are metal-on-metal hip implants?" Deborah Cohen, Feb. 28, 2012

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