The Tragic Reality Behind Defective DePuy ASR Hip Implants

A flawed piece of engineering in a car could cause it to break down, risking death to its occupants, and faulty workmanship could bring down a bridge or break apart a dam. Equally disastrous is a defective medical implant such as the DePuy ASR hip implant manufactured by DePuy Orthopaedics, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary.

Defective medical device attorneys warn against device failures that can result from manufacturing defects. Improper manufacturing can result in catastrophic injuries to people who rely on these medical devices for their safety and survival.

Thousands of patients have filed DePuy hip implant lawsuits, after developing complications related to the DePuy ASR hip implant system. Patients had to undergo revision surgeries and experienced severe complaints as a result of increased exposure to cobalt and chromium. They are seeking compensation for their medical bills as well as additional expenses connected with problems with this device.

There are multidistrict litigations based on the allegation that two versions of DePuy’s hip implants, ASR and Pinnacle, have a defect in their basic design. There are at least 6000 lawsuits pending against DePuy’s parent company Johnson & Johnson regarding the ASR hip replacements. Johnson & Johnson recalled the DePuy ASR implant back in August 2010. A U.S. district judge in Toledo, Ohio is overseeing more than 4000 federal suits consolidated in an MDL (multidistrict litigation).

DePuy Orthopaedics has recalled 93,000 of these ASR hip implants on account of dangerously high failure rates. Among the products recalled are the ASR XL Acetabular System which is a socket used for total hip replacement and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System, a partial hip replacement.

A common issue with any metal implant is metal poisoning. Metal products replaced plastic and ceramic implants and were considered more durable than them. This optimism by doctors led to their popularity around a decade ago. Metal implants were thought to be advantageous particularly for younger individuals. However, the numerous cases that come up with regard to metal implants paint a different picture. According to a news article in Bloomberg.com, failing metal-on-metal hip replacements such as those made by Johnson and Johnson are likely to harm a large number of users.

Metal devices tend to fail due to friction with the various parts. The reason for friction in metal components is the grinding of the ball and socket parts against each other. This grinding creates debris called metal shavings that release chromium and cobalt particles into the bloodstream, causing metal poisoning or metallosis. It is not possible to clearly predict which patients will experience complications because patients react to metal particles in different ways.

A study carried out in Britain earlier this year had linked the shavings from a metal implant to a major cancer risk to the bladder and the kidneys. Most of all, the metal-on-metal implants used particularly for the hip have a tendency to fail in just two years of being inserted. These include the Pinnacle and ASR models from DePuy. Among the patients researched, 98% were required to undergo revision surgery within three years of the insertion.

The study conducted on 80 patients, ages 31 to 84, who required corrective surgeries revealed that these failures were due to factors such as metal hypersensitivity, seizing of the metal component and formation of pseudotumors. Another major factor was acetabular cup loosening, which was responsible for the failure of implants in about 56 percent of the metal implants.

Medical device injury attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm are reviewing defective metal device cases related to the DePuy Orthopaedics ASR hip replacement system, as well as those connected with Transvaginal Mesh and the Zimmer Durom Cup hip replacement.

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