Texas Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacement LawyerMarch 14, 2012 — Experts are calling for a ban of metal-on-metal hip replacements after a study published this week in the Lancet found that the metal-on-metal design was far more likely to fail than other types of hip replacements.

They have also been found to leak toxic chemicals such as chromium and cobalt, which have been linked to cancer and a heart disease called cardiomyopathy. In Europe, the use of metal-on-metal hip replacements has declined significantly in recent years. However, metal-on-metal hip replacements remain prevalent in the United States.

The study was conducted by British researchers who analyzed data on 400,000 people who had hip replacements. Of these, approximately 31,000 had received metal-on-metal design. In comparison, in the United States, around 500,000 people have the metal-on-metal design. The researchers used data that was gathered between 2003 and 2011 in the National Joint Registry of England and Wales.

The researchers found that metal-on-metal design was more likely to fail than other designs, and women with large-sized implants had a four-fold increased risk of device failure. After five years, the metal-on-metal design had a 6.2% failure rate. Ceramic-on-ceramic had a 2.3% failure rate. Metal-on-plastic had a 1.7% failure rate. Furthermore, the researchers found that the larger-sized hip replacements were more likely to fail.

In February 2012, another study found that metal-on-metal hip replacements made of chromium-cobalt could leak toxic substances into a person’s body. When tissue comes in contact with metal, it can leak charged ionic particles into the bloodstream. Research has already linked ionic chromium to cancer, and ionic cobalt to a life-threatening heart disease called cardiomyopathy. Experts now recommend that people with these implants have yearly blood-tests to monitor for signs of toxic chemicals leaking into their bloodstream.

Given these increased risks of side effects, experts are now calling for the metal-on-metal hip replacements to be recalled. Evidence suggests that they have a higher risk of failure and side effects than other types of hip replacements, but are no more effective. Experts are now warning that the risks of this design outweigh the benefits.

Concerns over defective hip implants has been growing since DePuy recalled it hip implants in 2010 after concerns that they had an unacceptably high rate of failure. Since then, the FDA has called on manufacturers of hip replacements to conduct additional safety studies.

Many people who have received the implants are angry at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approving this device with minimal pre-marketing safety information. Because problems with medical devices often take several years to develop, by the time everyone realized that metal-on-metal hip implants were significantly more risky than alternative designs, hundreds of thousands of people worldwide had already received the devices.

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