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They Don’t Make Them Like They Use To – Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants Not the Best

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

That old adage is ringing true these days in the world of artificial hip implants. The artificial hip was developed in the 1960’s and was seen as highly effective by the 1990’s. However, like all good things, change was inevitable.

Innovation brought the metal-on-metal hip implants to market. Manufacturers like, Johnson and Johnson, DePuy Orthopeadics, and Zimmer promoted the metal-on-metal hip implants as the new generation of devices that were designed with the active generation in mind. These implants, like the DePuy ASR hip system or Pinnacle hip system, were suppose to last longer and allow for more physical activity after hip replacement surgery. The manufacturers, like DePuy, also hired surgeon consultants to promote their hip implants. These paid consultants would tell fellow surgeons that the metal-on-metal hips also reduced the risk of dislocation.

Orthopedic surgeons soon began implanting metal-on-metal hip implants, like the DePuy ASR and Pinnacle hip systems, at astonishing rates. What the surgeons did not know is that the metal-on-metal hips were not the innovation the manufacturers promoted. Instead, there were significant risks associated with the metal-on-metal design.

Soon surgeons would learn the hard way that innovation is not always best. Metal-on-metal hip replacement patients soon began experiencing pain and were having to undergo revision surgeries. In response, DePuy Orthopeadics recalled its ASR hip implant system in August 2010. And the safety of its other hip system, Pinnacle, has also been called into question since many patients are experiencing the same problems – pain, loosening, metal debris, pseudo tumors, and revision surgery.