Explaining the hip implant failure scandal

13 years ago, medical experts were predicting that hip resurfacing procedures using all metal devices would change the face of hip replacement surgery for the better. Research and testing revealed positive results and biomedical product manufacturers were told that they could begin marketing such devices to the general public from the summer of 2003.

Hip resurfacing involves attaching a metal device to complete a worn-down hip joint. Doctors thought that younger patients would benefit from the new technology because it meant that they could avoid fully replacing an arthritic hip joint. However, between 2003 and 2010, tens of thousands of people received malfunctioning hip replacements manufactured by DePuy and other companies leading to fears over the safety of all metal resurfacing practices.

Which companies made the faulty hips?

Due to the controversies of the last few years, people most commonly associate defective all metal hip implants with DePuy Orthopaedics, part of the Johnson & Johnson manufacturing group. Indeed, DePuy was forced to recall around 93,000 defective ASR devices in 2010 following concerns over the unacceptably high failure rates for the products reported by national joint registries. However, there were other manufacturers forced into recalls on smaller scales. Stryker UK Ltd and Smith & Nephew were also forced to recall defective all metal products.

The problems faced

The concerns over all metal hip devices started when national joint registries in the UK and Australia were reporting shockingly high failure rates. DePuy later conceded that around 12% of devices failed within 5 years however many believe this to be a gross underestimation.

Patients with all metal hip implants are at risk of various health complications, including:

• Joint dislocation

• Metallosis (poisoning of the blood cause by the metal components rubbing together releasing chromium and cobalt into the bloodstream)

• Extreme pain and severe swelling

• Numbness and impaired movement

Shortly after the Johnson and Johnson recall was issued, regulators in the UK told surgeons to stop implanting patients with the DePuy ASR devices. However, at the start of 2012, the decision was taken to stop the implantation of all metal-on-metal devices of any manufacturer.

Hip Implant Failure? You could be entitled to compensation

Hip implant recall claims require a high volume of complicated legal work. It is therefore essential that you have an experienced medical negligence solicitor specialising in such claims on your side. The experts at our firm can help to recover every penny of compensation you deserve, so:

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