DePuy Hip Implant Recall: Information and Warnings

DePuy Orthopedics, a division of Johnson & Johnson (J&J), recalled two of its metal-on-metal hip replacement products in August 2010 after numerous reports of high failure rates associated with the products. The recalled products are:

  • DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System
  • DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System

The DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System is a hip socket used in hip replacement surgery. The DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System is a partial hip replacement which involves placing a metal cap on the ball of the femur in order to preserve more bone. It is estimated that over 10,000 hip implant patients may be affected by the DePuy hip recall – with hundreds of injuries already being reported.

DePuy Hip Recall Injuries: FDA Reports Receiving Over 500 Complaints

DePuy hip implant injuries have been an ongoing issue for many years. In fact, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) reported that it has received over 500 complaints from patients who have undergone hip replacement surgery in which a DePuy ASR Acetabular System or DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System was used. Considering that the products only came on the market in 2004, that's an alarming number. The failure of the DePuy ASR Acetabular System and the DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System resulted in these hip devices having to be replaced as soon as a year or two after initial implants in many cases.

Prior to DePuy's hip recall, the FDA had issued a warning letter stating that metal ions could very easily slough off the rotating section of the hip implant device and enter into a person's systemic circulation, increasing the amount of heavy metal toxicity in the body which could result in poisoning. The letter also disclosed that the DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing Platform had a similarly poor revision rating (i.e. the frequency with which hip implants had to be replaced). While the recall itself affects thousands of consumers, some are more likely to be injured than others.

DePuy ASR Hip Recall Injuries More Likely For Some

Metal-on-metal hip replacements like the DePuy ASR are used in roughly one out of every three hip replacements in the United States, which means there are over 65,000 metal-on-metal hip replacements performed annually. That equates to a lot of people taking a very large risk as the cobalt and chromium ball-and-socket joints can rub against each other in such a way that they release metal ions into the circulatory system.

Patients who are more likely to develop complications relating to the excessive release of microscopic metallic debris into the surrounding tissue include: 1) those whose implants were even slightly dislocated or poorly positioned, 2) females, or 3) those with weakened bones. The release of this metallic debris can develop into something known as metal toxicity – a potentially dangerous condition.

DePuy Hip Implants May Cause Metal Toxicity

Metal debris can wreak havoc with the human body. "Heavy metal toxicity" is an already-familiar concept from other areas of medicine, as well as anti-oxidant nutritional supplement advertising. The idea here is similar, except that in the case of metal-on-metal hip replacement, the heavy metals are deposited directly into the systemic circulation from the defective femoral cup area. One of the gateways for toxic debris into the main systemic circulation is, in this case, the acetabular notch - the notch in the rim of the acetabulum (the lower part of the hip where blood vessels and nerves pass directly through).

Studies have shown that the coverage angle range for the acetabular component of the DePuy ASR implant - a critical factor in the likelihood of unsafe levels of toxins entering the body - is unusually sensitive. Similarly, the cup position and design for hip resurfacing are also critically important for preventing the release of metal ions as the cup rotates. DePuy hip implant recall lawyers say the manufacturer's poor design and choice of materials for the product have caused many patients to undergo another painful hip replacement surgery. However, compensation for those injuries may be available to victims.

DePuy Hip Recall Lawsuits: Find Out If You May Be Entitled To Compensation For Your Injuries

If you or a loved one has already suffered injuries due to a defective DePuy ASR Acetabular Cup System, DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System or DePuy Pinnacle Acetabular Cup System, it's wise to seek the advice of an experienced DePuy hip recall lawyer immediately. You may have a right to be compensated for injuries you have suffered including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, metal toxicity monitoring and more.

That being said, if trying to obtain that compensation, DePuy hip recall attorneys may first warn consumers about several important issues, including being aware of statutes of limitations, and avoiding signing consent forms.

For instance, there are statutes of limitations (the time in which you must file a lawsuit or be barred from doing so) and other important deadlines for filing a DePuy hip injury lawsuit in your state, so acting quickly is in your best interest. Also, patients subject to the DePuy hip replacement recall should not sign consent forms without speaking with a lawyer first. Signing these forms may affect patients' rights to privacy and the amount of compensation they receive. DePuy is seeking to cut its losses by having affected patients sign consent claim forms  which would allow the company to obtain valuable information about a case before the individual files a hip implant lawsuit.

However, DePuy hip injury lawyers who represent injured patients are crying foul over the claim form issue – and with good reason.They say that by signing a DePuy consent form – which is being sent to patients or their doctors by a company called Broadspire – the injured victim may be unknowingly giving up privacy rights and affecting any future claims filed against the company.

Getting Help

For anyone who has already signed the DePuy consent form, it can be revoked at any time by providing written notification to the person or organization who sent you the form. Contact a DePuy hip replacement injury lawyer for more information.