When first introduced to the market, metal-on-metal artificial joints, such as the DePuy hip replacement implants were expected to last longer than traditional implants, which combined metal and polyethylene.  However, recent studies have identified a range of problems commonly associated with metal hips.  Before you undergo hip replacement surgery, consider the following:

  • Durability
    • If you’re in the market for a new hip, you’ll likely want one that will last.  The life expectancy for traditional artificial joints is typically around 15 years.  However, a recent study found that new artificial joint replacements, including metal-on-metal hip implants do not perform any better than older models.  In December 2011, Australian researchers reviewed data on artificial implants that were introduced to the market between 2003 and 2007 from the country’s orthopedic registry.  Researchers from the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery concluded that 30 percent of artificial hip and knee implants introduced over a recent five year period have higher failure rates than older, less expensive designs.
  • Cost Effectiveness
    • Along with high failure rates, the newer metal-on-metal hip implants are contributing to the rising cost of health care.  Medical and legal experts expect that due to their high failure rates, these metal-on-metal implants will cost billions of dollars in coming years.  According to the Australian study, patients and taxpayer-financed health care programs are paying high costs because the metal-on-metal implants were introduced and used without proper clinical testing.
  • Ongoing Research And Development
    • In December 2011, a study funded by the National Institute of Health concluded that using graphite as a lubricant in metal-on-metal hip replacements may reduce wear and tear, which could lower the rate at which the artificial hips fail and increase longevity.  This latest discovery could impact the way hips are designed in the future.  Unfortunately, patients who have already been implanted with metal-on-metal hips currently available on the market are at an increased risk for developing metallosis.  Metallosis occurs when metal debris sheds from the implant causing metal ions to enter the blood stream.  In light of these recent findings, scientists may be able to design metal hips that are less receptive to wear and corrosion by using graphite as a lubricant to achieve better adherence among the metal parts.

Contact A Hip Replacement Lawyer

If you or a loved one suffered hip replacement failure, you may be able to file a hip replacement lawsuit seeking compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and more.

Contact a hip replacement lawyer at Bernstein Liebhard LLP for a free and confidential case evaluation. Our DePuy hip replacement lawyers have extensive litigation experience, and have recovered billions of dollars for their clients.  In addition to being staunch advocates for your claim, our team of hip replacement lawyers also provides personal attention to guide you through the complex litigation process.

Published January 27, 2012 by