Concerns mount over defective hip replacements

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Recent studies have confirmed high rates of metal-on-metal hip replacement failures. In February 2011, the Food and Drug Administration issued a public health communication about these defective hip replacements. Instead of lasting 15 or more years as they should, many hip implants fail within 2 or 3 years.

As a result of these product failures, many patients have undergone a second hip replacement surgery–called a “revision surgery”–that often result in unnecessary pain and complications, including infection. In addition, many patients have developed metallosis, tissue necrosis, cobalt toxicity, pseudotumors, and other complications as a result of metal particles sloughing off of the hip implant. Metallic debris can cause long term health problems including damage to the nervous system and heart even after the defective hip replacements have been removed.

An estimated 500,000 Americans have received metal-on-metal hip implants. In addition to the human toll, experts predict that premature failures of hip replacements will cost billions of dollars in the near future and will contribute to skyrocketing health care costs.

Metal-on-metal hip replacements have been manufactured by several companies including DePuy, Zimmer, Wright Medical, and Biomet.