Latest updates on hip replacement surgery

Friday, August 30, 2013

In August 2010, Johnson & Johnson (J&J), the world’s leading provider of diverse healthcare products, altogether with its orthopedic division DePuy Orthopaedics, conducted a global product recall of two of its most lucrative and popular hip replacement systems, the ASR XL Acetabular System and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System, online sources say. This action by the health care giant was reportedly initiated after it had been determined that more than 12 percent of these chromium-cobalt hip devices failed in less than five years. They have also been reportedly identified as a potential source of health risks, including complications from premature implant failure. In possibly preventing further damage from this adverse event, medical experts, consumer safety groups, and the United States Food and Drug Administration encourage those who have received ASR hip implants to undergo a blood test that could detect a possible DePuy hip replacement failure.

Similar to other metal-on-metal hip products on the market, the ASR hip replacement systems have been surrounded with controversies that describe their safety on a less favorable light. They have been the subject of numerous studies and thousands of adverse event reports, most of which link the ASR hips to early implant failure and complications related to metal toxicity. Health problems allegedly stemming from the ASR hip replacement systems have also drawn a series of lawsuits against DePuy and its parent company J&J.

Considered as one of the country’s most prominent product recalls, the so-called DePuy ASR hip replacement recall reportedly affects more than 93,000 implants distributed internationally, including about 37,000 units sold in the US alone, according to online media reports. Studies have also shown that these devices have been associated with failure rates greater than those of other similar hip implants on the market. Patients who may have received these implants are recommended to remain on the lookout for the following symptoms of a potentially failing implant: hip pain,swelling, joint dislocation, hip discomfort, limited mobility, or bone loss due to inflammation in the affected area.

With or without these symptoms, however, DePuy ASR hip recipients are still encouraged to submit themselves to a blood test which could analyze the levels of metallic debris that may have accumulated in the area surrounding the hip. Medical experts point out that increased levels of these particles could be an indication of a possible hip implant failure. As these minute metal particles build up, they may also be distributed through the blood, leaving hip implant recipients highly susceptible to health risks associated with metal poisoning, including persistent pain, pseudotumors, tissue death, or recurring infections. In most cases, recipients who have experienced hip implant failure have been subjected to early revision surgery to remove and replace their implants.

The author is a health writer and researcher from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


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