Statistics Show Defective Hip Implant Failures Are Rising

As defective medical device lawyers, we have posted in recent months about the serious issues with defective hip replacement devices. These hips are metal-on-metal hip replacement devices that were manufactured by several companies. But one hip device made by Johnson & Johnson has now failed in over twenty-five percent of patients by the sixth year after it was implanted.

The National Joint Registry of England reported that the general failure rate with metal-on-metal hip implants is nearly ten percent, but that the removal or replacement rate for the Articular Surface Replacement (ASR) from DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. is over double that percentage. These statistics have led the company to recall the device.

Johnson & Johnson is the largest manufacturer of hip implants. Metal-on-metal devices have a higher failure rate than other types of hip replacement devices. There are over 2,000 lawsuits now pending against the company regarding the failure of these devices.

The six year mark seems to be a particular milepost with the failure of these devices as the risk has been shown to increase at a sharp rate at the point in patients. What the statistics are showing is that after the sixth year of implantation removal rates are 4.7 percent generally for patients that have received any type of hip device. But the rate for metal-on-metal in this same period of time is 14 percent. Cemented devices account for only three percent of cases requiring removal. The use of the metal-on-metal hip replacements is declining, which is expected, given the fact that these are not performing as well as other hip devices are performing.

The New York Times reported in late August that the federal government is also receiving a major uptick in complaints regarding failed hip replacements. The NYT reports that between January and August of this year, the the federal Food and Drug Administration received over 5,000 complaints about metal-on-metal devices. This accounts for more complaints than the agency received in the prior four years combined.

The anticipated scale of the defective hip implants is likely to become a costly medical problem — similar to that of the recalled Medtronic heart device several years ago. In addition to the need for additional surgeries, patients have suffered serious injuries from metallic debris that is being produced with this type of implant. Tissue damage can be severe so that even if the device is replaced, patients have great difficulty walking.

As is so often the case, there are safer alternatives that surgeons are now turning to in light of the problems with the metal-on-metal replacements. But for those patients that have been implanted with the defective hips, the shift to other devices comes too late and they have a higher likelihood of tissue damage and additional surgeries for replacement.

If you have been implanted with a DePuy or other metal-on-metal hip contact our injury law firm immediately. If you have not yet experienced symptoms, but would like to know your rights Hersh & Hersh can help. Contact us to arrange a free consultation with one of our highly experienced defective medical device litigation attorneys.