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All-Metal Artificial Hips May Cause Problems

On behalf of Kammholz Law PLLC posted in Personal Injury on Friday, July 8, 2011.

Mounting patient complaints, along with a voluntary product recall, has prompted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ask 20 artificial hip manufacturers to monitor the outcomes of patients receiving "metal on metal" artificial hips. According to NPR.com, an all-metal hip artificial hip recalled last year by DePuy Orthopaedics, a division of Johnson & Johnson, drew attention to the problem, which has necessitated additional surgery in some patients to replace the defective device. Why Use Metal? Ceramics, plastics and metals are used to construct a variety of hip implants used to replace deteriorated hip joints. All-metal hip implants are often used in younger arthritis patients for a variety of reasons. A larger ball and socket in the all-metal hip reduces the risk of joint dislocation, minimizes bone weakness and generates less wear debris, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS). However, normal wear and tear following surgery may cause the two parts to rub together and release tiny metal particles into the bloodstream and surrounding tissue. Tissue damage has occurred in rare cases, causing necrosis, infection and allergic reactions. According to the FDA, metal released into the blood has also caused heart and neurological problems. To determine how much metal is being released, Dr. William Maisel, chief scientist at the FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health, is looking for the help of companies to provide blood samples from patients who have all-metal hip implants. Careful ongoing study will enable the FDA to determine how long the hips are expected to last and what problems patients could face. Hip Replacement Enhances Quality of Life Despite these problems, Dr. Joshua Jacobs, an official with the AAOS, emphasized in a May 11 article on NPR.com that artificial hips are the single biggest advance in the treatment of arthritis and that most patients are problem-free and living well with their artificial hips. Jacobs suggests that hip-replacement patients should have periodic check-ups and watch for changes like pain, numbness or swelling. Source: http://www.npr.org/2011/05/23/136502448/metal-artificial-hips-may-need-a-hip-check

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