Dangers Associated with Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacement Systems

The concern about metal-on-metal hip replacements, specifically over one made by  Johnson & Johnson subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics, is that they were causing problems within the first few years after implantation surgery. While the materials don’t wear out quickly, they do create microscopic particles of metallic debris. The body seems to react to this microscopic debris with an immune response, which may lead to soft-tissue and bone damage around the hip joint. In some patients, this tissue damage has been severe, causing permanent injury and requiring additional surgery. Patients with this particular implant are much more likely to need their hip replacement repeated. In fact, DePuy Orthopaedics is facing a number of lawsuits and is ordered by the court to cooperate during trials.

Joint replacement is a successful treatment for advanced joint diseases with more than one million hip replacements performed worldwide every year. However, this type of hip replacement system has been under the limelight of scrutiny due to its higher failure rate compared to other types of material used. Millions of people implanted with (MoM) hip replacements may have been exposed to dangerously high levels of toxins that seeped into their blood stream, according to a study.

Medical regulators are considering new evidence that “metal on metal” implants have had chromium and cobalt ions from this type of artificial hip seep into the surrounding tissue to destroy muscle and bone and spread to the lymph nodes, spleen, liver and kidney, potentially causing permanent damage. The researchers were also concerned that the ions could influence a person’s chromosomes, resulting in genetic alteration.

Concerns about some of the metal-on-metal hip implants were first voiced in 2008 by surgeons who saw patients with swelling in the hip area. From 2010, it advised that all patients will MoM hip implants may need to have annual tests to establish the level of metal ions in their blood.

Patients with other types of metal-on-metal hip replacement implants should also been seen regularly by their surgeon for continued evaluation. Only a limited number of MoM implants have been recalled, and even those recalled implants may not need to be removed. However, because of these concerns, these implants should be closely monitored to watch for potential problem. For more information on this topic, you may also refer to the DePuy Pinnacle Hip Implant Lawsuit.

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