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Articles Posted in Hip Implant Failure

Metal-on-metal hip implants were hailed as a superior alternative to their plastic and ceramic counterparts. Unfortunately, they are increasingly associated with serious medical complications, including the risk of blood poisoning. Read on for more information about metal hip implants and what to do if you’ve been injured by one of these defective medical devices.

Many metal hip implants are made of chromium-cobalt, a carcinogenic substance. When the metal components of the implant grind together through normal wear and tear, particles of chromium and cobalt can be released into the body. If the toxic substances enter the bloodstream, the results can be fatal. In addition to the risk of blood poisoning, the grinding of metal parts may also create metal debris. The shedding of this debris can lead to inflammation, extreme pain, bone deterioration, pseudo-tumors, and the need for revision surgery.

What Hip Implant Models are Dangerous?

Johnson & Johnson is at the center of thousands of lawsuits due to dangerous defects in its DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement devices. Claimants allege that J&J failed to adequately warn patients and physicians about risks with the all-metal implants. Thousands have suffered extreme pain, and many will have life-long complications as a result. J&J agreed to settle a portion of the cases for billions, but more than 8,000 pending lawsuits remain. Read on to learn more about the risk of Pinnacle hip implants and whether you may be eligible to receive compensation. It may not be too late.

When all-metal implants hit the market, they quickly grew in popularity as a sturdier, more durable device than their plastic or ceramic predecessors. J&J’s first attempt at all-metal implants in the 2000s proved to be a disaster; the company eventually issued a global recall of its ASR model due to the risk of serious complications. Nearly 10,000 lawsuits arose from ASR and earlier models, forcing J&J to settle for $4 billion. A Boston defective medical products attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by a hip implant or other medical device.

As mentioned above, there are still more than 8,000 lawsuits pending against J&J for its more recent model, the Pinnacle implant. After recalling its ASR implant, J&J continued to market and sell Pinnacle implants for nearly three years. Plaintiffs in the lawsuits against J&J allege the company is guilty of negligence because it sold defective products, failed to warn patients and physicians of associated risks, willfully concealed those risks from the general public, and acted maliciously. They even allege that J&J committed fraud.

Medical Complications Linked to All-Metal Hip Implants

All-metal implants have high failure rates and can lead to the following medical conditions:

  • Metallosis (a type of blood poisoning)
  • Bone deterioration
  • Tissue death
  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Loss of mobility
  • Extreme pain

During earlier trials, lawyers discovered an internal memo in which J&J estimated that approximately 40 percent of patients with an ASR hip replacement device would require a revision surgery in five years or less. Additional documents revealed that J&J was aware of the design defects, and that physicians had warned the company to pull its hip implants off the market. Further evidence showed that J&J decided to discontinue the devices rather than redesign them because they weren’t profitable enough.

Blood tests in patients with all-metal implants have shown high levels of cobalt and chromium. One patient had 85 times the normal amount of cobalt in her system. Chromium and cobalt poisoning can lead to multiple medical problems, and can eventually lead to death. If you are experiencing severe pain, hear popping or grinding noises, suffer from loss of mobility, or notice inflammation in your hip or groin area, contact your physician immediately. These symptoms may indicate a serious problem with your hip implant.  A MA defective medical products attorney can help you recover damages if you have been harmed due to a Pinnacle hip implant. Continue reading

All-metal hip replacements have been in the spotlight recently due to thousands of lawsuits filed against manufacturers of these products. Lawsuits allege the implants are linked to serious medical complications, including metal poisoning and bone deterioration. Plaintiffs in lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson for its DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement claim they suffered from metal poisoning and other complications after the implant shed metal, affecting surrounding tissue. Despite these risks, J&J has not issued a recall for its all-metal hip replacements.

Medical Complications Linked to DePuy Pinnacle Hip Implants

All-metal hip implants pose the risk of several serious medical conditions, including:

  • Severe pain
  • Dislocation
  • Deterioration of surrounding bone
  • Death of surrounding tissue
  • Implant loosening
  • Inflammation and swelling
  • Infection
  • The need for revision surgery
  • Metallosis (a type of metal poisoning)

It was originally believed that all-metal hip replacements would last longer and be more durable than their ceramic or plastic counterparts. However, it appears that the vast majority of complications are linked to the all-metal implants. In fact, many patients report that their all-metal device failed only a few years after being implanted. Research has shown that the issue is likely due to the process of metal shedding that often occurs with these implants. When metal particles are released into the surrounding tissue, high levels of cobalt and chromium may build up in the blood, resulting in a condition called metallosis. This painful, potentially-debilitating condition can lead to death of surrounding tissue, and deterioration of surrounding bone.

Symptoms of a Malfunctioning Hip Implant

According to a report from the National Joint Registry in Great Britain, up to 14 percent of all-metal hip replacements need to be removed within seven years. If you have a hip replacement device, the following symptoms may indicate a malfunction with your implant.

  • Severe pain in the hip, leg or groin
  • Difficulty walking
  • Difficulty standing
  • Swelling at or around the hip joint
  • Popping, squeaking, or grinding sounds
  • Kidney problems
  • Skin rashes
  • Depression
  • Thyroid problems
  • An enlarged heart

In 2011, the FDA issued a warning about the potential dangers of metal debris from all-metal hip replacements. The agency said that high levels of cobalt and chromium in the blood may cause additional illnesses and medical complications, including problems with the heart, thyroid, and nervous system. A Boston defective medical device attorney will help you recover damages if you’ve been injured due to an all-metal hip implant. Continue reading

Thousands of lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers of metal-on-metal hip implants, alleging that claimants suffered painful, debilitating complications from the devices. DePuy’s ASR and Pinnacle models are the focus of most lawsuits, with DePuy’s costs estimated at around $4 billion and growing. The cases involving the two models were recently consolidated into separate multidistrict litigation (MDL) cases. Thousands more remain in pending status. If you experienced severe pain or medical complications after receiving a metal-on-metal hip implant, contact a Boston injury lawyer today.

Complications Associated with Metal Hip Implants

Hip replacement surgery is one of the greatest medical innovations in decades. Millions of people have been able to improve their quality of life as a result. Unfortunately, as with all medical procedures and devices, hip implants come with risks. But some of these risks may be the result of defective design and failure to warn physicians and patients of associated complications. Risks include:

  • Blood clots
  • Metallosis
  • Infection
  • Bone fracture
  • Death

Metallosis

One of the main concerns with metal-on-metal hip implants is the debris that may be released into the body when metal components rub against one another. When this occurs, a condition called metallosis can result. This dangerous condition is caused by a buildup of metal debris in the body’s soft tissue. The effects of metallosis can be quite dangerous, resulting in death of the surrounding tissue and potential blood poisoning. If cobalt, titanium, or chromium ions are released into the bloodstream, toxicity, inflammation, and even cancer can result. Metallosis can also cause:

  • Failure of the implant
  • Joint pain
  • Tissue death
  • Bone deterioration
  • Blood poisoning
  • Toxicity
  • Formation of pseudotumors or cysts
  • The need for revision surgery.

Nearly 35 percent of retrieved hip implants have notable corrosion and other types of damage. Bone fractures, joint dislocations, improperly positioned components, infection, defective stem designs, and poor cementing techniques may contribute to the loosening of stem components and the need for a revision surgery. Unfortunately, revision surgery is a difficult, painful, and longer process than the initial hip replacement. Thigh and / or knee pain are usually the first indicators of a complication with a hip replacement. If you are experiencing any complications after receiving a hip replacement, contact your health care provider immediately.

DePuy Settlements Top $4 Billion

Plaintiffs in both MDL cases and pending cases allege that the medical devices had design defects and that DePuy knew about the risks but failed to adequately warn physicians and patients. In 2013, DePuy and its parent company Johnson & Johnson, agreed to a settlement in cases involving people injured by the manufacturer’s ASR models. At that time, the company set aside approximately $4 billion to settle the claims. Last year, the manufacturer agreed to an additional settlement of $420 million. If a defective or dangerous medical device has caused you harm, contact a MA defective medical device law firm today. Continue reading

Following a rash of serious medical complications allegedly caused by defective artificial hip implants, DePuy Orthopedics has been ordered to pay more than $1 billion. A federal jury in Dallas found the company, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, negligent in its failure to adequately warn physicians and patients about the risks associated with their product’s defective design.

At least six patients had to undergo revision surgery to replace the defective implants with a properly-functioning implant and / or to repair damage to the tissue and bone. The Dallas jury awarded more than $30 million in damages to the six patients and more than $1 billion in punitive damages. The jury made the following ruling:

  • J&J and DePuy were negligent in their design of the implant
  • They failed to warn patients and doctors about known risks
  • They failed to recall the product when defects were discovered
  • They intentionally misrepresented the effectiveness of the product to both doctors and patients

If you have been harmed due to a DePuy hip implant, contact a Boston defective medical product attorney today.

Johnson & Johnson Appeals the Verdict

Following the verdict, Johnson & Johnson and DePuy announced that they will appeal the decision, denying any wrongdoing. “We have no greater responsibility than to the patients who use our products, and our goal is to create medical innovations that help people live more active and comfortable lives,” said DePuy spokeswoman Mindy Tinsley. “DePuy acted appropriately and responsibly in the design and testing of ULTAMET Metal-on-Metal, and the product is backed by a strong track record of clinical data showing reduced pain and restored mobility for patients suffering from chronic hip pain.”

Fourth Trial Scheduled for September 2017

This trial was the third bellwether trial for thousands of similar lawsuits. Earlier this year, a jury – also in Dallas – awarded more than $500 million in damages to a group who suffered medical complications from DePuy implants. However, the award was later reduced to $154 million. The companies are also appealing the reduced ruling in that case. The first trial, which took place in 2014, was decided in favor of J&J and DePuy. A fourth trial is on the horizon, scheduled for September 2017. If you have been injured due to a DePuy artificial hip implant, or any other type of defective medical product, contact a Boston injury attorney today.

Risks Associated with DePuy Hip Implants

Thousands of lawsuits have been filed against DePuy for medical complications arising from defective hip implants. The most commonly cited complications include:

  • Bone fractures – in many cases the bones surrounding the hip implant have weakened, resulting in fractures
  • Metallosis – this condition occurs when metal fragments release toxins into the body
  • Pseudotumors – the formation of tumor-like deposits have adhered to joints in some patients
  • Necrosis – the death of bone and tissue due to metallosis has been cited in multiple lawsuits
  • Revision surgery – due to defective implants, bone erosion, and tissue damage, thousands of patients have required revision surgery to replace implants and repair damage

Continue reading

The Stryker Corporation, a multi-billion dollar medical technology and joint replacement manufacturer, is once again making headlines for all the wrong reasons, as their LFIT V40 CoCr Femoral Head is generating reports of catastrophic failures necessitating painful and expensive surgery for some patients who received the implant.  The LFIT V40 device is a hip implant that utilizes a metallic shaft, which attaches to the patient’s femur, leading up to the “head” of the device that attaches to a joint connected to the patient’s hip. The problematic area of the V40 device lies in the head, which has been reported to corrode over the course of its life and eventually weaken to the point where the head may slip out of the joint or snap off completely.

As the metal of the head corrodes, tiny metallic particles (which could be a combination of cobalt, nickel, chromium or titanium) may be released into the patient’s bloodstream, causing a type of blood poisoning known as “metallosis.” Advanced metallosis can result in complete bone and tissue death, leading to severe pain and other medical issues in the affected patient.

Symptoms of metallosis include:

As people age, their joints and bones become weaker after years of wear and tear pile up and compound on one another. Eventually, in many cases, people may need some of the more utilized joints – hips primarily – to be resurfaced or totally replaced when traditional physical therapy can no longer help with pain and soreness.  Medical technology is incredibly advanced in this nation, however, the practice of metal-on-metal hip replacements – replacing hips joints with metallic alloy structures made from a combination of cobalt, nickel, chromium and titanium – is complicated and can lead to severe adverse side effects on one’s health.

The FDA stresses that all hip replacements come with implicit risks, however metal-on-metal hip replacements carry a unique risk – metallosis. Metallosis is essentially blood poisoning that occurs in patients when the metal ball and socket rub against one another through daily use, releasing microscopic bits of metal into the blood stream that can lead to serious medical issues for some patients.  An FDA study from 2012 showed that of all patients that underwent hip replacement surgery with metal-on-metal implants, between 85 and 92% had no need for revision surgery, even seven years after receiving the implants. This shows that most of the time, there isn’t a real problem with hip replacements. But as with anything else, there are always unfortunate cases where things do go wrong.

Signs of metallosis

  • General hypersensitivity that results in skin rashes
  • Cardiomyopathy (heart problems)
  • Sensory changes such as with vision or hearing
  • Depression or other unusual cognitive changes
  • Kidney complications
  • Thyroid issues such as a throbbing, painful neck, weight gain, fatigue or feeling cold constantly

Continue reading

As we age, it is normal that our bodies begin to deteriorate.  Common areas prone to deterioration are the joints, i.e. knees, hips, etc.  Wear and tear on these parts of the body can cause pain, stiffness, and difficulty walking.   Physicians typically prescribe conservative treatment such as physical therapy, exercise and medications, but often times, joint deterioration requires total replacement or resurfacing.  Hip replacements are one of the most common joint replacements.

There are several types of hip implants used in replacement surgery, five currently being available in the United States.  These are, Metal-on-Polyethylene, Ceramic-on-Polyethylene, Metal-on-Metal, Ceramic-on-Ceramic, and Ceramic-on-Metal.  All of these implants have different risks and benefits.  The same implant can also react differently depending on the patient.  The different types of implants refer to the different materials used to make the ball and sockets of the artificial hip.  In metal-on-metal hip implants, both the ball and the socket of the device are made from metal.  Some notable advantages of metal-on-metal hip implants are “bone conservation on the femoral side with possible lower dislocation rates”, better range-of-motion, more normal walking posture, increased activity, and “increased ease of insertion with proximal femoral deformities or retained hardware, and straightforward revision”.

However, there are many risks with these replacement surgeries.  Common adverse effects regardless of the type of implant are hip dislocation, bone fracture, joint infection, local nerve damage, device loosening or breakage, difference in leg lengths, and bone loss.  Even with these potential complications, data from an FDA study performed of patients from Australia and the U.K. shows that 95 percent of patients with any type of total hip replacement have not undergone revision surgery for at least seven years after their initial operation.  Specifically with metal-on-metal implants, over 85 percent of patients have not have a revision for at least seven years after the initial implant.  Interestingly, patients with larger heads, defined as 36mm or larger, had more revisions than those with smaller heads.

Although this is true for this study, there has recently been a massive recall for several different manufacturers of hip implants in the U.S.  Consumer’s Union found that from 2002 to 2013 hip implant recalls six major manufacturers, Biomet, DePuy, Smith & Nephew, Stryker, Wright and Zimmer.  However, these recalls came after the implants had already been used in hundreds of thousands of hip replacement surgeries.  In total, more than 500,000 patients in the United States received metal-on-metal hip implants after they were claimed to be more durable and provide a greater range of motion when compared to older forms of artificial implants.  However, it was later found that the manufacturers’ claims that the implants were more durable were false.  These metal hip replacements began failing rather quickly.  Common symptoms of hip replacement failure are regular and prolonged pain around the groin, hip, or leg, swelling near the hip joint, and difficulty walking.  The key reason these metal-on-metal hip replacements are failing is due to the friction caused by the normal movement of the device.  This friction releases microscopic shavings and metal debris into the tissue around the joint.  Consequently, this can cause metallosis, a build up of metal fragments in the soft tissues of the body, which causes painful and inflamed joints and a high blood-metal count.  Continue reading

Stryker, a company that makes artificial hip implants, has reached a settlement to resolve thousands of products liability lawsuits over the now-recalled medical devices. The deal is expected to cost the manufacturer approximately $1.43 billion.

The agreement covers patients who were implanted with the ABG II Modular-Neck or the Rejuvenate Modular-Neck and had to undergo another procedure to have the hip implant replaced. Both models were recalled in 2012 in the wake of growing patient complaints of corrosion and other problems.

According to the plaintiffs, Stryker sold the faulty implants, which deteriorated in their bodies and caused them illness, swelling, and pain. Their defective medical device lawsuits accused Stryker of negligence for failing to properly test the ABG II and Rejuvenate models before releasing them and not warning doctors and patients about the possible side effects and risks. Some of the devices loosened while in patients, while others released toxic metal into the bloodstream.

With a Monday, January 6, 2014 deadline looming for people looking to avail of a multibillion-dollar DePuy ASR settlement deadline, many of those who were forced to undergo revision surgery to replace their faulty hip implants are rushing to meet the deadline to register their claim. That said, there will be another filing date so even if you aren’t ready just yet, you should still speak with an experienced Boston hip implant defect law firm to find out whether you have grounds for a Massachusetts products liability case.

To qualify for this settlement, your revision surgery would need to have taken place by August 31, 2013. Each plaintiff is to get $250,000 plus additional compensation depending on what other costs and damages they incurred. (Reductions, however, will also be factored in if a patient had his/her device for longer than five years.)

According to The New York Times, Johnson & Johnson, of which DePuy is a subsidiary, has put aside over $2.5 billion for these hip implant cases alone. Some 8,000 patients in the US who had to have their all-metal artificial hip implants taken out and replaced are expected to qualify for this deal. That said, there are still thousands of other patients who were also impacted by these faulty Articular Surface Replacement devices and do not qualify.

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