What happens when you rub two pieces of metal together, over and over and over? You get wear and tear. You get metal shavings. You get debris. When you put those two pieces of metal inside your body in a hip replacement, you get the same result: metal debris. That’s why there’s a growing concern over metal ion release for patients with Metal on Metal (MoM) hip implants like the DePuy ASR.
Anyone who’s bought a new car knows that you have to change the oil after the first few hundred miles until the engine is “broken in” to clean out the metal shavings that come off the new parts. It’s the same for metal on metal hip cup implants. The constant grinding, shifting, and turning leads to metal ion debris. Unfortunately, you can’t just change the “oil” in your body. You are stuck with the metal floating around inside you, and that could lead to other medical problems like metallosis.
Originally, hip implants were designed with a metal ball made of cobalt and chromium and a plastic cup to act as the hip socket. It was very effective and used for years. In fact, a recent New York Times article by Barry Meier reports that metal on metal implants were abandoned in the early years because “tests found that patients had metal particles in their blood or organs, raising concerns about long-term health risks like cancer.” The article goes on to say:
“By 1996, Jonathan Black, an industry consultant and professor emeritus of bioengineering at Clemson University, warned in a medical journal article that the metal-on-metal design posed significant risks because little was known about the biological havoc that metallic debris might cause. He also argues that given the high success rate of existing designs, it would be statistically impossible to run enough studies to prove the new implants’ supposed superiority.”
So why did orthopedic companies try to fix what wasn’t broken? Maybe they though they were innovating. Maybe the need to market a “new” product drove the companies to ignore the science. Either way, thousands of patients around the world are now in pain, or worried about their future health. Companies like DePuy should be held accountable for the impact of their products on people’s lives, because there is nothing innovative about creating something “new” that’s already broken.
For more information contact the DePuy ASR Hip Recall Law Firm Alliance at (877) 284-6600.