Our firm has received preliminary reports that bone loss in some ASR hip implant patients has reached the point where their hip cannot be surgically “revised.” These patients face the prospect of spending the remainder of their lives in wheelchairs.
ASR Hip Implant Failures And Subsequent Recall
DePuy Orthopaedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, designed, made and sold the ASR “metal-on-metal” hip implant. Most of DePuy’s hip implant sales and surgeries in the United States started in 2005 and ended in early 2010, when the New York Times published articles showing that DePuy had made a considerable number of reports to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about problems with its ASR hip implant.
Five months after these articles were published, in August 2010, the company recalled the DePuy ASR hip implant.
But when DePuy launched the ASR hip implant for sale in the United States, several leading orthopedic experts warned DePuy that the implant would generate unsafe levels of metal debris and that patients’ bodies might react unfavorably.
Complications That Arise From DePuy ASR Hip Implants
The primary metals DePuy used to make the ASR hip implant were chromium and cobalt. Tests done with patients who have received the DePuy ASR hip implant indicate that they often have extremely elevated levels of metallic ions from chromium and cobalt in their blood.
It is believed that some DePuy ASR patients respond to the metal debris by producing excess osteoclasts. Osteoclasts are a type of bone cell whose function is to break down the cells that make up bone, a process called bone resorption. The presence of metallic debris triggers the production of more osteoclasts, which not only attack the metallic DePuy ASR hip implant debris, but also the bone that surrounds the device. Over time, the osteoclasts group into large white blood cells called macrophages, all while destroying more healthy bone tissue.
With the defective DePuy ASR hip implant, this can lead to a debilitating outcome. If the body produces too many osteoclasts and macrophages in response to the DePuy ASR’s metal ion debris, the resulting bone destruction could be so extensive that there is no longer enough bone to serve as an anchor for another acetabular cup.
The result is a frightening one: permanent disability and use of a wheelchair because revision is no longer possible.
Doctors Concerned About Defective Metal Hip Implants
DePuy and Stryker are understandably worried about the extensive injuries caused by the defective metal-on-metal ASR and Rejuvenate. Both have advised orthopedic surgeons who implanted the devices to monitor and screen hip implant patients for excess metal ions in their bloodstream. If a patient’s metallic ion levels are too high, surgical revision may be necessary before too much bone loss occurs.
Walkup lawyers have spoken to many leading orthopedic surgeons who have both implanted and explanted the defective metal-on-metal implants. Most are understandably upset about what has happened to their patients.
Call the law office of Walkup Melodia toll free at (415) 981-7210 for a free consultation.
We handle DePuy ASR and Stryker Rejuvenate hip implant lawsuits nationwide.