January 1, 1970 · FLEMING | NOLEN | JEZ, L.L.P.
Metal on Metal Hip Litigation Rapidly Expanding Beyond DePuy ASR and Pinnacle Hips to Other Hip Replacement Manufacturers
In the last year, there have been highly publicized lawsuits for metal on metal hip failures from DePuy’s ASR and Pinnacle hip products. Now it appears that metal-on-metal hips are failing at a high rate across the board in other manufacturers’ products. Notably, there are an estimated 250,000 hip replacements a year in the United States. While the metal on metal hip replacements have decreased substantially because of the reported problems, it is unclear how many people have been harmed by these devices.
Recent medical studies and research suggests that as the metal hip replacement parts grind against each other. As a result, microscopic particles of cobalt and chromium may be released into the body, which can result in metal poisoning, a process known as metallosis. Metallosis can cause soft tissue damage, inflammatory reactions, bone loss, local necrosis or other problems that may lead to the need for a risky hip revision surgery.
In May 2011, the FDA formally requested Wright Medical, DePuy, Smith and Nephew, Stryker and Zimmer to gather data about the frequency at which the metal particles released by hip replacements becomes a health problem, the level of metal particles actually released, and to explain the potential side effects of metallosis.
Since then, adverse reports and cases have exploded in the following months. In addition to the highly publicized DePuy’s ASR and Pinnacle hips, lawsuits are now starting to be filed against Wright Medical Group, Stryker, and other metal on metal hip manufacturers.
As a result, there are potentially thousands of patients that have or will experience problems with their metal on metal hip. 2012 has the potential to escalate this litigation into an unprecedented size and scope that was unimaginable merely months ago.