On August 24, 2010, DePuy Orthopedics of Johnson & Johnson recalled two ASR metal-on-metal hip replacement implants due to a high rate of hip implant failure in a growing number of patients.  Hip implant failure in DePuy’s recalled devices can cause painful hip implant injuries (such as fractures, dislocations and soft tissue damage) that require expensive revisionary surgery. 

Reports of Hip Implant Injuries

Introduced in July 2003, the ASR Hip Resurfacing System (a metal femur cap for partial hip replacement) and the ASR XL Acetabular System (a metal hip socket for total hip replacement) have been implanted in approximately 93,000 patients.  In 2008, the FDA began to receive complaints that patients were experiencing hip implant injuries within five years after their replacement surgery.  In late 2009, DePuy claimed that it was phasing out the ASR Systems because of slowing sales, even though patients with ASR implants continued to report ASR-related hip implant injuries.  In December 2009, contrary to its statements, DePuy recalled its ASR Systems in Australia and, in March 2010, a government agency issued an advisory warning about hip implant injuries caused by metal hip implants in Britain. 

Just weeks ago, DePuy recalled the two ASR hip implants, following the release of a report from the National Joint Registry of England and Whales, which found that approximately 12% of patients (1 in 8) with the metal ASR resurfacing device and 13% of patients with the metal ASR hip socket device suffered hip implant injuries requiring a second surgery.  Numerous U.S. medical centers have found that the rate of failure resulting in hip implant injuries is even higher. 

Types of Hip Implant Injuries Suffered by Patients

Symptoms of a defective ASR hip implant can include inflammation and pained walking, moving of the legs, or standing.  These symptoms may occur when the hip implant failure causes:

  • Loosening whereby the metal implant separates from the bone;
  • Bone fractures whereby the metal implant breaks into pieces; and/or
  • Dislocation whereby the metal part detaches from the hip. 

Lasting hip implant injuries can result from the failed hip implants, such as damage to the surrounding soft tissue, bones, joints and nerves, and sensitivity to metal.  Revisionary surgery is a more complex procedure than the first hip replacement surgery because there is less bone to work with and a greater chance of hip dislocation once completed.  As such and unlike other hip implant injuries, damage done to the soft tissue surrounding the hip can make revisionary surgery even more painful and difficult.

While some patients experience symptoms, one major concern is that these types of hip implant injuries may not have any symptoms and thus can go unnoticed even though replacement surgery is necessary.  Therefore, any patients who have either of the recalled ASR hip implant parts should visit their doctors for testing for symptoms of hip implant failure and monitoring to determine whether the failed implants have generated metal debris in the hip area. 

Contact an Attorney for Hip Implant Injuries

The lawyers at Bernstein Liebhard LLP are currently investigating cases concerning hip implant injuries caused by DePuy’s recalled ASR hip implants.  If you or a loved one suffered hip implant injuries related to the DePuy recalled devices, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit. If you would like to discuss your legal rights, contact our attorneys today for a free and confidential case evaluation.

Published November 17, 2011 by