In 2010, Depuy Orthopaedic, Inc., recalled the ASR XL Acetabular and Hip Resurfacing artificial hip implant systems due to a design defect.
Patients were informed that they might require a revision surgery — a surgery which removes the defective implant and replaces it with an implant of a different design.
Artificial hip implants were first developed in the 1940s and allowed patients with degenerative hip disease, osteoarthritis, or injury to enjoy an active lifestyle. In the mid-1970s, the hip implant design was refined and consisted of stainless steel femoral stem and head, a polyethylene component and acrylic bone cement.
In 2005, DePuy came to the market with a new hip implant design, the ASR XL Acetabular and Hip Resurfacing systems, which they marketed to active and younger patients. This new design was approved by the FDA under rule 510 which is a “fast pass” system, allowing medical devices to be approved without undergoing rigorous clinical trials. This design was a departure from other designs as it hadmetal-on-metal components.
By 2008, complaints started coming in from patients with DePuy artificial hips because of a high rate of failure of the device. Patients, who expected at least a 15 year life-span for their hips, started experiencing symptoms of severe pain, fractures, loosening, and dislocation.
As worrisome as these symptoms were, reports of other serious symptoms started coming in. Specifically, some patients were diagnosed with metallosis or cobalt/chromium poisoning which was caused when the metal components of the hip implant rubbed against each other and shed metal debris into patient’s blood stream and surrounding tissue. Some of these patients were diagnosed with pseudo-tumors, tissue necrosis (death) and other symptoms of heavy metal poisoning.
DePuy issued a recall of the hip implant systems in August of 2010 in the United States. However, this was several years after studies in Australia, Sweden and the UK were showing between a 8-13% failure rate of the devices and the hip implants were banned in those countries.
While DePuy Orthopaedics has promised to pay the medical costs of patients for their ongoing medical care and hip revision surgeries, DePuy does not compensate patients for other non-medical costs such as loss of wages, loss of an active lifestyle, and for pain and suffering. Therefore, many patients are seeking compensation through litigation. Claims against DePuy may result in compensation for these other costs.
More information about DePuy hip implant claims can be obtained by contacting a personal injury attorney specializing in these claims. A DePuy hip implant lawyer can assist patients and make sure their rights are protected including their rights of privacy to their own medical records.
About the Author
This article was written by Herbert G. Farber, founder of The Farber Law Group, a Seattle-area personal injury law firm. Not only does Mr. Farber have more than 30 years experience investigating, prosecuting and going to trial with all types of product liability cases but he has taken a keen interest in the DePuy litigation as he has had two successful hip replacements himself and uniquely understands the suffering of those who have had failed implants.