A hip replacement is a surgical procedure in which the hip joint is replaced with an artificial ball and socket. The ball is made of ceramic or metal and the socket is lined with ceramic, metal or plastic. In the case of metal-on-metal hip implants, all parts are made of metal. In addition, some designs do not have a liner and the metal socket is in direct contact with the metal ball.
Patients who do not require a complete hip replacement may undergo hip resurfacing instead. In this procedure, the femoral bone is not entirely replaced with an artificial ball, but capped with an artificial dome.
The attorneys at Kaiser Gornick LLP handle all types of metal-on-metal hip implant cases, including those involving:
Increasing evidence suggests that metal-on-metal hip implants fail at unacceptably high rates compared with alternative options such as metal-on-polyethylene, ceramic-on-metal or ceramic-on-ceramic hip implants. More than 500,000 Americans have metal-on-metal implants. Many are not aware of the potentially severe side effects associated with these medical devices.
Many experts believe that metal-on-metal hip implants are a flawed design and should not be used. Metal-on-metal hip implants can shed metal debris and ions into the body, which can damage the hip joint and cause pain, tissue damage, inflammatory reactions, bone loss, necrosis and metallosis, and may require surgery to repair. In some cases, the implant must be removed or replaced entirely.
Recent investigations have confirmed long-suspected fears about the magnitude and nature of device failures with metal-on-metal hips. For example, one authoritative study published on behalf of the National Joint Registry of England and Wales concluded that metal-on-metal devices fail at significantly higher rates compared to alternative hip implant devices. The authors noted that metal-on-metal hips "should not be implanted" due to their "poor ... survival."
On May 6, 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered all manufacturers of metal-on-metal devices to perform post-market surveillance studies. On Jan. 17, 2013, the FDA issued a Safety Communication which stated that "[m]etal-on-metal hip implants have unique risks in addition to the general risks of all hip implants." On Jan. 18, 2013, the FDA published a Proposed Order that would require manufacturers of metal-on-metal total hip replacement systems to establish to the FDA that their devices are safe.
If you or a loved one has been harmed by a metal-on-metal hip implant, contact the San Francisco Bay Area office of Kaiser Gornick LLP via email or by calling toll free at (800) 824-8234 to schedule a free initial consultation. Explore your right to compensation with our experienced California attorneys.