A May 23, 2011 National Public Radio (“NPR”) podcast entitled, “Metal Artificial Hips May Need A Hip Check” discusses the controversy associated with metal-on-metal hip implants.  The broadcast begins by interviewing Rick Douglas, a patient who received one of the now-recalled hip replacement implants.  Douglas described his symptoms to NPR as “metal grinding . . . burning inside of [his] leg,” which ultimately led to a revision surgery in order to remove the defective implant.  During the revision surgery, it was determined that metal shavings had come off of the implant and infected the tissue surrounding his hip.  Douglas, who can no longer work, now suffers from chronic pain.

The segment also highlights actions taken by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) in response to last year’s recall.  Specifically, the broadcast mentions that the FDA has asked hip manufacturers to provide research on patients who received metal-on-metal hip implants because the hip replacements are not lasting as long as expected, and in some cases can cause damage.  Dr. William Maisel, chief scientist at the FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health, told NPR that he hopes the manufacturers’ research will provide answers on how long the hips last, as well as what kinds of problems patients are experiencing due to the metal-on-metal artificial hips.  Additionally, Dr. Maisel is hoping that blood samples taken from patients who received the metal-on-metal hips will assist researchers in determining how much metal is being released into the bloodstream.

Dr. Joshua Jacobs, chairman of Rush University Medical Center’s orthopedic surgery department, told NPR that artificial hips “are the single biggest advance of the century in treating debilitating arthritis.”  However, patients should be “mindful of any changes like pain, numbness or swelling.”

To listen to the entire radio broadcast of “Metal Artificial Hips May Need A Hip Check,” click here.

Published May 23, 2011 by