MRI May be Able to Detect Complications Related to Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants

Friday, June 7, 2013
By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

Patients with any metal-on-metal hip implant might want to discuss getting an MRI, even if they are not experiencing any discomfort. A medical study published in Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery suggests an MRI may be able to detect problems before any damage is caused from a hip implant. This can include hip implant failures and metallosis, or metal poisoning, from the chromium and cobalt ions in the metal-on-metal hip implants.

Many patients who have undergone surgery to repair joint damage had surgeons who used DePuy, Stryker, Wright or Zimmer metal-on-metal hip implants. As thousands of defective product lawsuits and numerous hip implants recalls indicate, problems with these medical devices can be extensive.


Findings in the Study.

According to the study, the MRI was able to detect inflammation in the joint lining in seventy-eight (78%) of the metal-on-metal hip implant patients studied who were already experiencing pain. It’s suggested the inflammation is cause by the two metal pieces of the hip rubbing together and releasing metal ions into the bloodstream.

The study also found the MRI was able to detect inflammation in the joint lining of sixty-eight percent (68%) of metal-on-metal hip implant patients studied who had not yet experienced any pain. So even though patients were not yet feeling pain from their metal-on-metal hip implants, the MRI was able to see signs of metallosis. The study suggests that getting an MRI scan can track the progress of inflammation and help doctors determine when an implant will need to be replaced. It’s recommended testing should be done at least once a year.


U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Concerns Over Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is also looking into the safety of all hip replacement products. In January 2013, the FDA announced it wants hip implant products that were previously approved for sale but did not do clinical testing in patients to run these studies to be able to continue selling these products. Click here to read a blog on the FDA’s updated safety concerns on metal-on-metal hip implants.


Widespread Recalls of Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants.

Two nationwide recalls of metal-on-metal hip implants by Johnson and Johnson’s DePuy Orthopaedics and Stryker Orthopaedics has prompted hundreds of thousands of lawsuits against the manufacturers. In August 2010, DePuy recalled 93,000 ASR XL hip implants after a significant percentage failed within five years. (Click here to read the press release from DePuy.) DePuy’s recall was followed by Stryker issuing a recall of the Rejuvenate and ABG II modular-neck femoral hip systems in July 2012. (Click here to see the press release from Stryker.)

Other metal-on-metal hip implants facing recalls and lawsuits include the Wright hip implant and the Zimmer Durom Cup. Wright hip implant cases are currently being filed in state and federal courts. There is multi-district litigation (MDL) currently pending regarding Wright hip implants. The Acetabular Zimmer Durom Cup hip replacement system was first introduced to the market in 2006. Now, court records show nearly 200 federal Zimmer hip lawsuits have been consolidated in U.S. District Court, and more than half have been settled.


Lawsuits Against Manufacturers of Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants: Things You Need to Know as an Implant Recipient.

The Health Law Firm is currently taking on plaintiffs’ products liability cases against these manufacturers’ defective hip implants. We are able to combine our knowledge of the health care industry with our litigation experience for the benefit of our clients. In a three-part blog we share the top things all metal-on-metal hip implant patients need to know about their medical and legal options. Click here for part one, here for part two, and click here for part three.

One of the most important things to keep in mind is DO NOT talk to Broadspire. Stryker and DePuy are looking to settle claims with the victims from these two recalls. In most cases, patients will hear from Broadspire directly. It’s important to understand that Broadspire is working in the best interest of Stryker and DePuy. If you’ve been contacted by Broadspire to settle your claim, contact an experienced attorney first.


Contact an Attorney Experienced in Products Liability Litigation.

Although The Health Law Firm represents predominantly physicians and other health care providers, we are involved in products liability litigation. At the request of our clients, we have agreed to take on and prosecute a number of hip implant cases against their manufacturers for the patients. We currently are representing several plaintiff patients with DePuy hip implants and several plaintiff patients with Stryker hip implants.

We are able to combine our knowledge of the health care industry with our litigation experience for the benefit of patients. If you received a DePuy, Stryker or any metal hip replacement and have experienced pain, swelling, high levels of metal in your blood, a corrective revision surgery, or other complications, we may be able to help you. To learn more about your legal rights, contact The Health Law Firm for a consultation today.

To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.


Comments?

Have you experienced complications for a metal-on-metal hip implant? Would you consider getting an MRI? Please leave thoughtful comments below.


Sources:

Zimmerman, Nathaniel. “MRI Can Detect Metal-on-Metal Zimmer Hip Complications.” Injury Lawyer News. (June 4, 2013). From: http://injurylawyer-news.com/mri-can-detect-metal-metal-zimmer-hip-complications

Curran, John. “Stryker Metal Hip Implant Problems Detected Early with MRI.” Top Drug Lawsuits. (May 29, 2013). From: http://www.topdruglawsuits.com/lawsuit-settlements/prescription/3633-stryker-metal-hip-implant-problems-detected-early-with-mri


About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law.  He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice.  Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area.  www.TheHealthLawFirm.com  The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone:  (407) 331-6620.


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6/7/2013

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