Around 2.5 million Americans are currently living with a hip replacement, and thousands may be at risk of developing heartbreaking complications caused by metal-on-metal hip implants. These implants are extremely dangerous as they’re prone to potential failure. The subject of at least 2,000 lawsuits, such implants can cause metal poisoning, infections, and bone and tissue damage. This is yet another example of medical companies releasing unsafe products built from poor quality material and are not sufficiently tested.
Why Would Someone Need a Metal Hip Implant?
People may need a hip replacement to fix damaged hips from medical conditions like arthritis. These hip injuries make it painful for people to walk, and if symptoms don’t get better with physical therapy, they may need a hip replacement.
Hip implants are meant to restore mobility and relieve pain. Patients usually work with medical professionals to determine which type of hip implant would be most beneficial for their situation and present the least risk. Today, hip implants are available in four different materials:
Metal-on-metal hip implants were once available but have since been discontinued because of the risks they pose.
What Are Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants?
Metal-on-metal hip implants are no longer in use, but there are still thousands of individuals living with them. Since metal is a durable material, manufacturers originally believed metal-on-metal (MoM) hip implants would be a long-lasting hip replacement option. The strength of the metal was meant to make hip joints more stable and less likely to dislocate. They were also thought to be safer than implants made from materials like plastic or polyethylene that may wear down and spread debris throughout the body. However, MoM implants were later found to corrode and disperse small metal particles in patients.
When metal debris enters the bloodstream, it can cause serious reactions, which is why the FDA has cautioned users about them. Often, the risks associated with MoM hip implants far outweigh the benefits.
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Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacement Injuries
A patient was diagnosed with elevated levels of cobalt ion in her blood in a recent lawsuit against Wright Medical, one of the manufacturers of metal-on-metal hip implants. This was allegedly caused by the metallic debris of her MoM hip implants, resulting from metal parts rubbing against each other.
When metal debris gets inside the bloodstream, it can cause metal poisoning, also known as metallosis. This can lead to bone or tissue damage, or even death.
Other injuries associated with malfunctioning MoM hip implants include:
- Vision and hearing problems
- Kidney impairment
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Allergic reactions
- Need for replacement surgery
- Psychological changes
Signs of a Defective Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacement
Unfortunately, all types of hip implants can cause complications. Common symptoms of a defective hip replacement include:
- Hip or groin pain
- Difficulty walking
- Dislocation and/or fracture
What Should You Do If You Have a Metal Hip Implant?
Patients should’ve been told the type of implant they were given at the time of surgery. If uncertain, the surgeon’s office should be able to provide this information. If you’re experiencing one of the signs of a defective MoM hip implant, you should schedule a consultation with your surgeon. However, if you’re not experiencing any related symptoms, you should just follow up with your surgeon for periodic exams. If your specific hip implant has been recalled, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it needs to be removed immediately. It’s recommended that you discuss the recall with your surgeon to get additional information.
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MoM Hip Replacement Lawsuits
Plaintiffs of MoM hip replacement lawsuits allege that manufacturers were aware of the design defects in these medical devices. They claimed companies were aware the device could erode even during low or moderate physical activity. Manufacturers shouldn’t release products that are dangerous or defective to consumers, especially those used for medical purposes. At present, there are six companies facing MoM implant lawsuits:
- Biomet Zimmer
- Smith & Nephew
MoM hip replacement lawsuits continue to be filed as individuals experience negative side effects. Many individuals need to undergo revision surgery after their MoM hip implant becomes defective, leading to extra medical costs and additional stress.
Pintas & Mullins Can Help
If you have experienced complications from your metal-on-metal hip implant, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries. Let the experienced defective medical device lawyers at Pintas & Mullins help you every step of the way while you focus on recovering. Call (800) 614-2067 to learn more.