National Public Radio’s Program Morning Edition aired a story today ““Prone to Failure, Some All-Metal Hip Implants Need to be Removed Early” which explained issues patients are having with the recalled DePuy ASR hip implants.
The feature story highlighted the plight of one patient, Susy Mansfield, a woman who was implanted with an artificial hip at the relatively young age of 57. At the time, her surgeon recommended a metal-on-metal hip because he said they would last longer since the metal-on-plastic hips which have a life span of 10-15 years.
Mansfield’s hip was problematic from day one. She suffered constant pain after the surgery, a pain she described as “terrible” and a “hot pain”. Her hip implant also was loose. When Mansfield found that her hip implant had been recalled, she sought the help of a surgeon who was experienced in replacing faulty hip implants, Young-min Kwon of Massachusetts General Hospital. Amazingly enough, her original surgeon’s office told her that her implant had not been recalled.
The problem with the DePuy ASR hip implants was that they had not been thoroughly tested on humans. The DePuy implants were approved by the FDA with a fast track system known as a FDA 501(k). Dr. Kwon said:
“I think there are lessons for all of us — that you need to have scientific data to support any introduction of any new technology. One might argue that [this one] didn’t have enough.]”
When performing Mansfield’s second hip replacement surgery (known as a revision surgery), Dr. Kwon discovered that the cobalt and chromium metal that was shed by Mansfield’s DePuy hip implant had damaged her muscles and surrounding tissue. In addition, her bone had not grow around her implant as it should have and Dr. Kwon had to perform bone grafting using a cadaver bone.
A British study found that the DePuy hip implants have a five-year failure rate of 1 in 16 patients but it could be higher. The United States has no national joint registry as they do in the U.K. so there are no real estimates of how many American patients are affected.
The good news for Mansfield. Only four days after her 2nd hip replacement surgery, she was able to go up and down stairs with the help of crutches.
If your hip implant was recalled
If you received a notice informing you that your hip implant was recalled, you should contact your orthopaedic surgeon for follow up testing. Your surgeon can do a blood test which would detect high levels of cobalt and chromium which can be shed into the blood stream by the metal hip implants. Your surgeon can also perform an examination and order x-rays or CT Scans.
Recommendation from a Personal Injury Attorney
As a hip implant patient myself, I understand the pain and suffering you have gone through having a hip implant surgery and possibly facing another one. I recommend that you do not sign any forms from DePuy or their agent Brightspire untill you have checked with a qualified personal injury attorney so that your rights are protected. Do not sign your rights away. If you have signed a form allowing Brightspire access to your metal records, your personal injury attorney can revoke that authorization.
The Farber Law Group represents people with the defective DePuy Hip Implant throughout Washington state and the Pacific Northwest. We provide local representation while at the same time being affiliated with a top New York law firm to provide your case with the best experts and scientific evidence.
For more information, check the DePuy section of our web-site.