Failed Metal on Metal Hip Implants Cause Long-Term Health Damage

There’s much news and lawsuits relating to the faulty metal-on-metal hip replacement devices. However, not much media attention has been focused on the long-term health consequences to a patient who’s had to have revision surgery to have the metal-on-metal hip implant explanted. Perhaps, it’s common to think that once the failed hip device is removed, the medical issues will also disappear. This, unfortunately, is not often the case. Besides metallosis, a dangerous condition in which the blood flow is poisoned by the metal fragments that flow into the bloodstream as a result of the metal-on-metal parts constantly rubbing together, new research has shown that failed hip replacement implants can cause long-term damage to the bone and tissue surrounding the hip joint. This makes revision surgery that more complex and makes any eventual recovery with decent mobility that much more difficult and lengthy.
According to one media report, “This is a serious problem in the USA,” said Mathias Bostrom, an orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. “Some implants have a worse record than others, but almost all the metal-on-metal implants have issues.”
The FDA has also warned that its not just the surrounding tissue and joint that is affected by the failed metal-on-metal hip implant. Damage to the body occurs, Bostrom said, when the implant pieces move against each other and metal debris breaks off, lodging in nearby soft tissue and bone and entering the blood. Inflammation and tissue death can occur around the joint, and problems affecting the heart and nervous system, although rare, can develop from toxins entering the blood, the FDA said.
The relative popularity of these metal-on-metal hips led medical device manufacturers to manufacture their own metal-on-metal hip devices. Medical devices companies including Smith & Nephew, Zimmer Holdings, Wright Medical and Biomet Inc, and DePuy, whose parent company is Johnson & Johnson have all manufactured the metal-on-metal hips and are under FDA scrutiny.