DePuy ASR Metal Hip Implants: Bound to Fail in 6 Years Says British Study

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and its subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. is in trouble in Britain after a British database suggested that its metal-on-metal hip implants fail within a span of six years. The information was based on the data gathered by the National  Joint Registry for England and Wales which pointed that 29 percent of the patients have reported that their implants have failed after only six years of use. The New York Times reported thatmetal-on-metal implants can cause tissue and muscle damage
The National Joint Registry for England and Wales tracks hip replacement problems in Britain after the DePuy announced a worldwide recall of two of its hip replacement systems, the ASR XL Acetabular System and the DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing Platform, last August 2010.  The recall followed the release of medical studies which found that the metal-on-metal hip implants had a high failure rate in stark contrast to its 15-year life expectancy.  However, more than 90,000 DePuy ASR XL Acetabular Systems and DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing Systems have already been sold worldwide before the recall and about 40,000 of those were sold in the United States. 
The manufacturers had expressed doubts that the rate could be as high as the British registry is calculating for the hip implants failure at six years.  However, even the registry’s five year failure rate numbers are higher than the manufacturer’s estimates, with 17 percent of British ASR hip recipients reporting failures.   With all hip implants that feature metal-on-metal designs appearing to have a higher failure rate than other types of artificial hips, the registry data stated that the problems on metal-on-metal hip replacements are not limited to the recalled DePuy ASR implants.
In comparison, however, other types of hip implants including combinations of ceramic, plastic and metal only have a 4.7 percent failure rate after seven years than the metal-on-metal hip implants which have a failure rate of 14 percent, according to the registry data. Part of the concern for this high failure rate is a defective hip implants potential to cause metal toxicity among its recipients.  A Texas law firm, Parker McDonald P.C., which represents plaintiffs seeking remedies for medical issues arising from the failure of metal-on-metal hip implant devices, has stated that The cup in the recalled ASR device is so shallow that it is susceptible to so called “edge loading,” a situation wherein the joint’s ball strikes against the cup’s edge and causes the implant parts to rub together and chisel off debris that releases microscopic ions of the heavy metals chromium and cobalt into the body.
There may be a need to undergo a risky hip revision surgery as metal debris inside the body could result in soft tissue damage, inflammatory reactions, bone loss, genetic damage, asceptic fibrosis, local necrosis or other problems. DePuy accounts for nearly 4,000 of the 5,000 complaints on metal-on-metal hip replacement received by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). {This means that despite the DePuy hip replacement recall, more lawsuits are expected to be filed against J&J which has bulked up its liability fund by $570 million to cover the cost of DePuy ASR settlements. J&J has bulked up its liability fund by $570 million to cover the cost of DePuy ASR settlement as more lawsuits are expected to be filed against J&J despite the hip replacement recall. More lawsuits are expected to be filed against J&J which has bulked up its liability fund by $570 million to cover the cost of DePuy ASR settlements despite the ASR hip replacement recall.