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Failing Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacements Get New FDA Review

An artificial hip replacement consists of a prosthetic ball attached to the top of the femur which fits inside a socket implanted into the hip bone. While both the ball and socket can be composed of several materials, in artificial hips implanted into more than half a million Americans, both components are made out of metal.

Metal-on-metal hip implants have caused a variety of problems for patients. Yet, despite the proliferation of products liability lawsuits and even recalls of certain devices - including DePuy brand artificial hips that had been implanted in patients worldwide - metal-on-metal hip replacements are still being widely used. Now, the Food and Drug Administration is finally taking steps to review data that increasingly indicates metal-on-metal hips are unduly dangerous medical devices.

Pain, Swelling Caused By Worn Off Metal Particles

Artificial hips are meant to last for 10 to 15 years. But, according to a recent report compiled by surgeons in the United Kingdom, more than 6 percent of metal-on-metal hip recipients need a replacement device after five or fewer years.

What's the problem with metal-on-metal hip implants? As the metal ball and socket slide against each other during running or walking, tiny metal particles wear off. These particles can become lodged in the flesh around the implant, and may even enter the bloodstream.

Some patients have little or no reaction to the metal particles. But others experience pain in the groin, hip or leg, or extreme swelling at or near the hip joint. Symptoms related to the heart, nervous system, thyroid and kidneys can come about as a result of metal ions entering the bloodstream. Even after faulty metal-on-metal hips have been removed, patients can continue to experience these problems.

In late June, the FDA held two days of public hearings before an advisory panel to review the latest research on the risks and benefits of metal-on-metal hip implants. While the agency has not made any recommendations for U.S. patients with these devices - FDA scientists say they want to consider all available data before making any recommendations - the FDA has cautioned metal-on-metal hip recipients to be watchful of complications and report any issues to their doctors.

Compensation for Patients Who Received Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants

Unfortunately, metal-on-metal hip implants may be more dangerous than devices made out of other materials, and manufacturers did not fully explore this possibility before marketing their products to thousands of Americans. If you were the recipient of a metal-on-metal hip replacement and have experienced complications, you may be entitled to compensation; talk to an attorney today to learn more.

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