The NBC Nightly news recently back in October 2011 ran a segment on the problems associated with the metal on metal hip implants from such companies as DePuy, Wright Medical and Stryker. Since that article hundreds of consumers have filed civil actions across the country against the manufacturers of this metal on metal artificial hips. The Food and Drug Administration was slow to jump on board but have now raised serious concern about the failure rate of metal on metal hip implants.
Last week the Stryker Medical Equipment company, a leader worldwide in the development and sale of orthopedic products, announced the voluntary recall of two (2) of its hip products, the Stryker Rejuvenate and the Stryker ABG II Hip Replacement Implant. The recall was prompted by findings of excessive metal particles or debris in and around the joint space of consumers who had one of these hip implants. Stryker had previously sent notice around to physicians advising them of a problem where contact is made between the stem of the implant and the ball portion of the implant. The metal particles can break loose due to friction and lodge into the surrounding tissue leading to serious inflammation of the tissue and causing metallosis necrosis and debilitating pain. It is interesting to note that the rubbing of metal on metal and the metal going into human tissue was one of the same complaints that led to the DePuy hip recalls.
Metallosis is a medical problem encountered when there is a buildup of metal debris or particles in the human body. It is believed that the abrasion of the metal parts can cause metal ions to enter into the body and the body then identifies the ions as a foreign body and subsequently inflames the surrounding tissue. The inflammation of the tissue can lead to a dying of the tissue and a further weakening of the implant.
The side effects from the metal on metal hip implants include dislocation of the implant, swelling, inflammation, extreme pain, possible done destruction, failure of the implant device. The metallosis might cause gastrointestinal problems, infections, headaches, and problems associated with sight, hearing and understanding. These are obviously serious complication and the consumer should seriously consider revision if any of these complications is present.
It appears from the number of civil actions (lawsuits) filed by consumers and by the recalls by the manufacturers that this problem may grow. This is not doubt that it is going to seriously affect the health of hundreds upon hundreds of consumers, many of whom are going to be very reluctant to undergo another revision surgery but who will eventually be forced to have the surgery due to the pain.
There is currently a Federal Multi-District Litigation Court that is dealing with the DePuy Hip Implant cases. The Federal Judge in charge of the Multi-District Litigation will have the power to decide many of the preliminary legal and evidentiary issues. It is also obvious that the various state court judges are coordinating with the Federal Judge. We anticipate that these two separate court systems to continue to coordinate their legal decisions as these cases move forward.