Metal hip replacements have become commonplace in American healthcare, with more than 1 million metal hip implants made since the first metal-on-metal hip implants were introduced in the 2000s.
In the beginning, it was believed that metal hip implants were a medical breakthrough, allowing patients to lead a more active life. Unlike past versions of hip replacements that used plastics, ceramics, or steel, these new-era metal hip replacements used metals such as titanium and cobalt.
However, now both metal hip replacements and their plastic counterparts are under fire for significant health and safety risks associated with their product.
Why Metal Hip Replacements Fail
Manufacturers of metal hip implants insist that their products are fully regulated and tested for use in surgical applications. However, numerous cases have now shown that many hip replacements do not meet basic quality standards.
A hip implant is designed to replace the ball and socket joint of the hip. Often times, these implants may contain a ball and cup, once of the components of the device that contains cobalt. Over time and with use, many hip replacements began to show signs of wear.
With consistent use and contact between two metallic surfaces (the ball and cup joint mentioned above), particles of metal began to become discharged in the joint. Over time, these tiny particles can easily contaminate a patient’s body and cause necrosis, the medical term used to refer to metal toxicity. This condition can also easily spread as the metal particles enter your bloodstream.
It is important to note that metal-on-metal hip replacements are not the only replacements that lead to health issues. Many implants have a polyethylene alternative material designed to prevent the problems associated with metal hip replacements. However, many of the parts in these implants also lead to corrosion and friction over time, leading patients to suffer from the same issues.
Hip Replacement Failure Signs
According to the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), there are a few symptoms of metal toxicity from metal hip replacements, which include:
- Pain in the hip, leg, or groin
- Implant loosening or failure
- Swelling around the hip
- Grinding, popping, and squeaking noises from the hip joint
- Skin rashes or hypersensitivity
- Hearing and vision loss or impairments
- Thyroid damage
- Kidney impairment
Which Implants are Prone to Failure?
There are many hip replacement options available to patients today, some of which include:
- Depuy Orthopedics®
- Smith & Nephew®
- Wright Medical®
To date, the FDA has received thousands of adverse events from these medical device manufacturers.
Medical device manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of the patients who wear or receive their products. If you or a loved one have had a hip replacement and are experiencing adverse effects, USA Consumer Network can help. Learn more about how you can get help for your hip implants here.