DePuy Orthopaedics has initiated a widespread hip replacement recall of the company's ASR XL Acetabular System total hip replacement and ASR Hip Resurfacing System due to data that shows the systems are defective in a disproportionate number of patients.
Hundreds of individuals who experienced complications because of faulty DePuy hip replacements have already filed lawsuits against the company, alleging DePuy knew about problems associated with the hip replacements well before alerting the public.
Research shows the hip replacements have significantly higher failure rates than other models. Five years after receiving the DePuy implants, complications required 12 to 13 percent of patients to undergo a second hip replacement surgery. The average replacement rate for other models is 6 to 7 percent.
Problems caused by the hip replacements include the loosening of the implants within the body, which can lead to pain, limping and other walking difficulties. Another problem is allergic reactions caused by the release of metal debris from the implants within the body. The metal particles, which are discharged from the metal-on-metal components of the implants when they rub against one another, accumulate over time.
A number of experts maintain the long-term effects of this complication have yet to be realized in their entirety. In an editorial that ran in the June issue of The Journal of Arthroplasty, three leading physicians argued that metal hip implants "do not show any clinical advantage," but rather "are producing a new series of complications."
In fact, research shows that problems caused by faulty DePuy implants may have life-long repercussions. Complications caused by the implants may decrease the body's ability to tolerate future hip replacements, thus increasing the amount of replacement procedures a patient will have to undergo during their lifetime.
The DePuy hip replacements that are being recalled first became available in 2003. Patients who received a hip replacement subject to the recall may have already been contacted by DePuy about the possibility of receiving compensation for medical expenses caused by implant defects. However, patients are advised to speak with a lawyer before signing any paperwork provided by DePuy and/or Johnson & Johnson, as this paperwork may contain a waiver that can preclude patients from receiving enough compensation to cover their total losses.