Hip replacement is one of the most common medical procedures performed today, especially for older patients. Unfortunately, hip replacement devices are also some of the most common affected by defects and faulty manufacturing. Many patients who have undergone hip replacement surgery found what they did to improve their lives actually resulted in less mobility, more pain, and frustration they never imagined.
There are numerous manufacturers of hip replacement devices and most have encountered at least some problems with defects and recalls. Depuy Orthopedics is no exception. Depuy designed three different replacement devices that are intended for use by younger patients with active lifestyles. In most cases, hip replacement recipients are older. The body’s joints wear out over time and as we reach our senior years, replacement surgery is often necessary.
However, there are people who lead very active lifestyles and their physical activity takes a toll on their joints. Unfortunately, most replacement devices are made for elderly patients and designed to last for only a limited number of years. Depuy claimed their ASR and Pinnacle replacement devices were long-lasting and perfect for younger patients with hip joint issues.
Depuy’s ASR Hip Replacement System
The Depuy ASR replacement system is a one-piece system that is intended to be used with the ASR XL total hip replacement or the ASR hip resurfacing system. The device was designed to minimize the potential for dislocation – a concern with all hip replacement devices – but especially a problem when a hip replacement recipient is still young and active. The ASR was also supposed to reduce debris and be durable.
The system was available in a variety of materials, including:
- Ceramic on polyethylene
- Metal on polyethylene
- Ceramic on metal
- Ceramic on ceramic
- Metal on metal
The materials used to make the hip joint device are important because there is constant contact between the pieces. The best choice for a particular patient is based on his or her overall activity level. The materials affect durability, which means one device will likely last longer than another depending on which of the materials is chosen. Choosing a material combination not intended for excessive use can result in premature failure of the hip replacement device.
Pinnacle Metal-on-Metal Acetabular Cup Liner
The Pinnacle system is offered in only a metal-on-metal option. It was created for use with a particular femoral head and shell. When it is used with the Acetabular Pinnacle Shells and the Co-Cr-Mo femoral heads, these liners were supposed to reduce the risk of premature failure.
Depuy ASR XL Acetabular System
The Acetabular ASR XL is another system designed for use with a particular hip replacement and intended to lengthen the life of the replacement device. It was marketed for its ability to increase stability and minimize dislocation, and to aid in preserving as much of the natural structures of the hip as possible during a replacement procedure.
Depuy Hip Replacement Failures
Despite the hip replacement devices being designed to reduce the risk for failure, not to mention the need for complex revision procedures, those who received the hip replacements soon found their devices did not meet expectations. Studies from the United Kingdom found these implants have a high failure rate – in some cases as high as 40 percent within five years of initial placement.
Issues with the various devices included:
- Increase in the number of patients with loosening implants
- Fracture of the bone where the implant was inserted
- Metallosis or metal poisoning resulting from the release of metal ions into the hip
- Reactions to the metal debris released into the hip and body causing severe inflammation
- Infections resulting from the release of debris
- Damage to the surrounding bone and tissues
Depuy issued a voluntary recall in 2010, after several patients needed revision procedures. It is considered a significant recall because estimates show half a million people in the United States have hip replacements. It’s expected that many of these people will soon experience complications with their devices, if they haven’t already.
Our goal is to ensure people who have Depuy and other hip replacement devices understand the risks and discuss their situation with their doctors. The company has offered to fund follow-up surgeries for Depuy hip replacement recipients, but to date is not offering compensation for pain, suffering, and lost wages caused by premature failure of hip replacements. If you have a Depuy hip replacement, it is in your best interest to contact an attorney to ensure you receive proper compensation.