Advances in medical technology have made it possible to integrate artificial materials into therapeutic devices for patients. One such therapeutic device, the Depuy ASR artificial hip implant developed by Depuy Orthopedics, was designed as a synthetic replacement for hip joints damaged by a fall, or by degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The implant was initially promising; however, after hip replacements in thousands of patients, recurring physical issues were reported, leading to a recall of the devices in 2010.
After FDA approval of the Depuy ASR hip replacement system in 2003, physicians saw a surge of revision rates after five years, as high as 13% of total implant recipients. A revision is an instance in which the original hip replacement device had to be removed surgically and replaced by another option. Most physicians believe the defect in the replacement units result from a design defect, wherein the interfaced between the hip ball and the cup is too shallow. The revision rates were alarming to physicians, a 2010 recall of the devices, and hundreds of revision surgeries.
Complications from the hip replacement device include loosening of hip cups, dislocations of the hip, fractures to bone and surrounding tissue, metal debris detaching from the implant and entering the bloodstream as a result of increased friction from motion in the hip replacement unit. This friction and release of metal flakes into the bloodstream resulted in the creation of pseudotumors in some patients. A pseudotumor, a condition also known as metallosis, is an inflammation of cells surrounding a foreign body or mass – in this case a metal flake – which resembles a tumor, but in actuality is a collection of fluids resulting from aggravation of the tissue.
Because the Depuy hip replacement implant is composed of chromium–cobalt components, the flaking from defects of the implant may result in cobalt poisoning. Cobalt poisoning is an especially serious concern, and can result in symptoms such as vertigo, deafness, blindness, convulsions, cognitive damage, and dementia. While replacement of the defective hip unit can be removed and replaced, the treatment of cobalt poisoning is far more involved. Cobalt poisoning is most effectively treated by chelation therapy, a method of using chemical compounds in the bloodstream to remove dangerous metals from the body. Chelation therapy is most commonly used in lead poisoning, mercury poisoning, arsenic poisoning, but is also used in the removal of a variety of heavy metals. The use of chelating agents may also result in minor to severe side effects. Chelation therapy and can result in kidney damage, the removal of other essential minerals, or other minor symptoms such as headache chills, fever and fatigue.
As a result of the 2010 recall of the Depuy ASR hip replacement device, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed for patients seeking compensation for pain and suffering, and medical treatment related to the physical and chemical side effects of from defective units. If you have been impacted by a defective Depuy ASR hip replacement unit, it is important to seek medical treatment and revision of the defective device, and seek the advice of a competent attorney versed in the background and dedication of the Depuy ASR unit failures.
Call injury attorney Ty Wilson for a free evaluation of your claim at 1-866-937-5454.