Dangers of Metal-On-Metal Hip Replacements
With a metal-on-metal hip replacement, there is a metal ball and a metal socket working together to give the patient greater flexibility and movement. A problem occurs when those two metal components rub together and release metal ions causing an inflammatory response in the hips. This results in elevated cobalt and chromium levels, pain and popping, and the possibility for a need of a revision surgery. A hip replacement malpractice attorney can help you better understand the dangers of a metal-on-metal hip replacement.
These types of hip replacements are more dangerous than other options because others have a poly liner with a metal socket, so there is no metal component rubbing against a metal component. The rubbing of metal on metal releases metal ions that can trigger metallosis and severe degradation of the implant itself. The release of metal ions into the blood and the elevated cobalt chromium can cause very serious health problems to the patient.
Awareness of the Danger
There is some evidence to suggest that manufacturers may have known about the dangers of the metal-on-metal hip replacement years before the complaints began to surface before a recall. The manufacturers were pushing their products to market as an alternative to previous hip replacements as being more for the active lifestyle saying they would allow for greater range of motion. We are not aware of the manufacturer taking any initial steps to mitigate the dangers of these hip replacements.
A major point of contention in these types of lawsuits are arguments that patients were not provided with adequate warning before their metal-on-metal hip replacement. This is something that happens with many medical device cases. The company may have had knowledge of problems related to the hip replacement surgery through monitoring adverse event reports to the FDA or through their own clinical trial testing. However, that information was never shared with patients or doctors prior to the implantation of these devices.
In most instances, people did not know about the dangers. Hip replacement surgery was marketed as being better and safer with a newer model. If the patient is not given the full breadth of information, if all they are told is about the benefits and none of the risks, they are not able to make a well-informed and reasonable decision.
Before Going Into Surgery
Before going through hip replacement surgery, make sure you know what type of hip replacement is being used and the name of the manufacturer. Have a long, frank discussion with your orthopedic surgeon about the possible risks associated with this particular hip replacement device.
If you know what type of hip replacement is being used, you can log on to the FDA’s medical devices section and check to see how many other complaints there are and what the complaints are about. You can find out how much experience your doctor has with using these implants. The patient needs to know if the doctor has done a couple of hundred procedures and has a good success rate.