Hip Replacement Problems And Complications
Hip replacements are one of the most common implant procedures performed in the United States and an estimated 250,000 replacements are performed each year. A hip joint is a type of “ball and socket” joint and a total hip replacement involves replacing both these parts at the same time. The materials used in an artificial hip generally consist of either metal, plastic, or ceramic. Several years ago, metal-on-metal hip implants (where both the “ball and socket” are made out of metal) became a popular choice for hip replacements because it was believed this made them more durable than hip replacements containing plastic or ceramic parts. This has turned out not to be the case.
Studies have shown that metal-on-metal hip implant components wear down quickly and generate metallic debris that can cause pain, inflammation, swelling, tissue damage around the joint, trouble walking, and even bone destruction in some patients.
The average hip replacement lasts for about 15 years, but the vast majority of complaint filings to the FDA involve people who have received a metal-on-metal hip implant and have, or will have to undergo a procedure to fix the failed hip implant after only a few years.
- An MRI can be used to identify inflammation of the joint lining, also called synovitis, caused by an adverse tissue reaction to the metallic debris from metal-on-metal implants.
- MRIs can tract the status of a patient’s inflammation and help doctors determine when an implant will need to be replaced before extensive bone and soft tissue damage occurs.
Other problems that can develop from metal-on-metal hip implants include:
- Loosening of the product from the bone
- Swelling and inflammation
- Decreased mobility due to difficulty walking
- Bone around the implant may break
- Dislocation of the implanted joint and attached bones because parts of the implant that move against each other are no longer aligned
On July 24, 2008, Zimmer Holdings, the country’s largest artificial joint component manufacturer, announced that they were recalling their metal-on-metal Durom Cup hip implants because of its high rates of failure.
On August, 24, 2010, Johnson & Johnson recalled its DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System hip implants because it too was experiencing a high rate of failure. Available data indicates that approximately 13% of patients who received a DePuy ASR hip implant had to undergo a second hip surgery to remove the defective implant.
The medical device manufacture Stryker began marketing its Rejuvenate Modular Primary Hip System in June 2008. Four years later (July 6. 2012) Stryker announced a voluntary recall of both the Rejuvenate and ABG II Modular Hip Systems because of complications associated with the modular neck stems. Fretting and corrosion which develops at the modular neck interface can lead to significant amounts of dangerous cobalt and chromium metal ions being released into the surrounding tissues and blood stream. These metal ions in the body can lead to serious medical problems such as tissue necrosis and pseudo tumor formation. These serious medical problems may force individuals to have to undergo another hip replacement surgery. Read more in our article: Failed Medical Device Alert.