Since the failure of Stryker’s Rejuvenate and ABG II hip implant systems, the suspicion about the reliability of metal on metal hip implants has increased manifold. An initial implant that failed was Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy ASR, which caused various complications in the patient’s body. The company initially did not accept nor acknowledge the numerous complaints customers had against the hip replacement. As various lawsuits began to pile up against the company, Johnson & Johnson was forced to act. To date, the company has stated they will be reimbursing up to $3 billion in damages.
The Stryker Corporation has suffered similar consequences. Similar complaints were made against the Rejuvenate and ABG II hip implant systems. The Stryker Corporation failed to inform its customers about the varying side effects that may occur, such as metal poisoning or tissue deterioration. After countless patients suffered from these ailments, the Stryker Corporation was put to trial. There are many lawsuits currently being filed against the company in pursuit of a grand settlement for the pain and suffering the hip implants have caused.
The Ban is No Surprise
As early as 2010, the orthopedic circles have been reporting the problem of early failure of metal on metal hip implant models. The history of hip replacement goes back many decades. Various types of materials like Ivory, ceramics, plastic and metals have been used for production of parts for the implants. The minimum lifespan of a hip replacement is considered to be 15 to 20 years. If it fails earlier than that, it means the product does not meet the safety criteria and standards.
The various signs a hip replacement has failed can be, but are not limited to, the development of consistent pain, disability of the joint, loosening of the implant and metal poisoning. Many of these concerns have been raised with the present metal on metal models. Additionally, the release of small debris or metal ions in the blood stream causing danger to the general health of the person, was seen in the case of metal on metal hip implants.
Since then, surgeons have become reluctant to implant metal on metal hip replacements. This was in response to the alarming failure rate reported by the Artificial Joint Registry, which started monitoring all metal replacements in the United Kingdom.
Decision by NHS
The Telegraph in its December 4 article revealed that a draft for a ban on all hip transplants, which had a failure rate of more than 5% in five years, is being discussed and the ban will soon be implemented. The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence has already issued the warning about this effect when studies revealed a failure rate of up to 43 % for metal hip implants. Medical professionals are optimistic about a decision that has been made by the NHS and NIHCE, and believe this is an important step in the right direction.
Monitoring and studies have revealed that many of the metal on metal hip implants that exist in the market today have very high failure rates. The Johnson & Johnson model, the DePuy ASR had a failure rate of 13% in the first five years of use. These statistics indicate that metal on metal implants will not only be banned, but all current models will have to be pulled off the market.