Manufacturers claim metal-on-metalhip implants are safe and long-lasting, but several recent studies have linked them to higher risks of device failure, corrosion, tissue damage, pseudotumor growth, and toxic metal poisoning (metallosis).
UPDATE: $56 Million Biomet M2A Magnum Lawsuit Settlement
February 10, 2014 — Biomet agrees to pay $56 million to settle over 1,000 Magnum M2a and M2a-38 hip implant lawsuits, for a base payment of $200,000 per plaintiff. Click here to read more.
January 9, 2013 — There are 893 Biomet M2A lawsuits pending in federal court, and the first trials have been set to begin June 2015. Click here to read more.
July 18, 2013 — At least 494 Biomet M2A Magnum lawsuits have been filed in federal court. Click here to read more.
December 5, 2012 — A South Carolina man has filed a lawsuit alleging that the Biomet M2A Magnum hip implant is defective. Click here to read more.
October 3, 2012 — A federal judicial panel has centralized Biomet M2A Magnum hip implant lawsuits into a Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, before Judge Robert L. Miller. Nearly 70 pending lawsuits will be transferred to the court. Click here to read more.
Biomet M2A Magnum Hip Implant Overview
The Biomet M2A Magnum Hip Implant is a metal-on-metal hip replacement that was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2004. Since then, thousands of people have been implanted with this device. The Biomet hip implant is a similar design to the DePuy hip implant, which was recalled in 2010 for safety reasons.
Metal-on-metal hip implants were originally designed as ideal devices for younger, healthier, more active hip implant recipients. Manufacturers claimed they were safe, long-lasting devices. Unfortunately, after hundreds of thousands of people were implanted with these devices, several scientific studies were published linking metal-on-metal devices to higher rates of failure, corrosion, toxic metal poisoning, tissue damage, and more.
Biomet Hip Implant Class Action
Biomet is facing over 1,000 lawsuits in a federal Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2391) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana. In February 2014, Biomet agreed to pay $50 million in compensation and $6 million in attorneys’ fees to resolve hundreds of claims, for a base payment of $200,000 per qualifying plaintiff. These lawsuits are not part of a Biomet hip implant class action — instead, they are individual lawsuits filed by plaintiffs who hired their own attorney.
Studies of Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants
In 2012, several scientific studies have been published linking metal-on-metal hip implants to severe side effects. These studies include:
- Researchers published a study in the British Medical Journal in February 2012, warning that metal-on-metal hip implants could shed toxic metal particles into the body.
- A study published in March 2012 in the Lancet found that metal-on-metal hip implants were more risky than plastic or ceramic devices. In the first 5 years, 6% of metal-on-metal devices failed, compared with 1.7% of plastic implants and 2.3% of ceramic implants.
- The Journal of Arthroplasty published a study in May 2012, warning that metal-on-metal hip implants may corrode more quickly and severely than other types of hip replacements.
- The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery published a study in June 2012 that found 39% of patients with metal-on-metal devices developed non-cancerous pseudotumors, which are growths of soft tissue that can cause hip displacement.
Toxic Metal Poisoning
Metal-on-metal devices are designed with a metal femoral head, which rotates in a metal cup. The parts are made of cobalt and chromium. The problem with metal-on-metal devices is that, over time, the grinding metal parts can shed tiny particles of ionic cobalt and chromium into nearby tissues, muscles, bones, and the bloodstream. This can cause severe damage to the tissues around the hip implant. High amounts of metal can also leach into the bloodstream and cause metal poisoning, or metallosis.
Symptoms of Problems with the Biomet Hip Replacement
If you have any type of hip replacement, it is a good idea to be familiar with the warning signs of device failure so you can seek treatment before a serious problem occurs. People who suffer device failure may have severe pain, or require another expensive corrective surgery, or be unable to enjoy normal activities.
Early warning signs of hip replacement failure may include:
- Pain in the hip: This may be mild, moderate, or severe. It may only occur while walking, or it may be chronic and constant. It may grow worse over time.
- Displacement of the hip: This can cause changes in gait or make walking painful or uncomfortable. The hip/leg may move unusually while walking, make a “clicking” noise, or cause the leg to go numb after walking for a period of time.
- Swelling and/or inflammation in the hip
Biomet M2A Magnum Hip Implant Side Effects
Metal-on-metal hip implants, including the Biomet M2A Magnum hip implant, have been linked to severe side effects which may include:
- Device failure, needing additional corrective surgery
- Tissue damage or death (necrosis) in the hip area
- Bone loss in the hip
- Pain, which may be temporary or chronic
- Metal poisoning caused by chromium/cobalt particles
- Pseudotumors (non-cancerous soft tissue growths that can cause the hip to become displaced, leading to device failure)