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Metal-on-Metal Hip Failures: The Crisis Expands

January 1, 1970 · FLEMING | NOLEN | JEZ, L.L.P.

A report by the New York Times has estimated that over 500,000 patients in the United States are recipients of metal-on-metal hip implants. Patients who have had these hips fail typically experience various adverse side effects (metallosis, pain, loosening, clicking, etc.) anywhere from 6 months to several years after the implantation surgery. The exact time frame varies from patient to patient.

A few days ago the US Drug Watchdog group alerted the public that due to studies by European agencies, there is a growing fear that the metal-on-metal failure rate could be as high as 50%. While this statistic is unconfirmed, this failure rate is exponentially higher than the originally estimated 8% failure rate.

Consider how widespread and complex the metal-on-metal hip litigation has become in the last year. The following are the various venues of litigation against manufacturers across the country:

  • DePuy Pinnacle, MDL No. 2244, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas
  • DePuy ASR MDL No. 2197, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio
  • Biomet M2a Magnum, MDL No. 2391, U.S. Northern District of Indiana
  • Zimmer Durom Cup Product Liability mass tort litigation, MDL No. 2158, U.S. District Court of New Jersey
  • Wright Medical Technology, Inc., Conserve Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation MDL No. 2329, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia

In addition there are numerous state court jurisdictions with metal-on-metal cases pending. Recently Smith & Nephew issued an “Urgent Field Safety Notice” regarding its Birmingham modular head components.

It is becoming more and more evident that the metal-on-metal hip design has never been safe. Patients who have received a metal-on-metal hip implant should closely monitor their health.