An estimated 93,000 people around the world were fitted with artificial hips made by DePuy Orthopaedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. Late last summer, those people were notified that their hip replacement systems were being recalled because the implants were failing at an alarming rate much higher than expected. Many patients were experiencing pain and difficultly walking, and required a second surgery to have the implant replaced. In some cases, third surgeries were required. Problems with the devices were detected in some cases just months after the artificial hips were implanted.
The parts affected by the recall include the ASR XL Acetabular System and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System. Here are the most common problems associated with the implants:
1. Loosening – During surgery, the implant is attached to the hipbone and put into position. The DePuy implants have been coming loose from the bone and shifting out of position.
2. Fracture – In some cases, the bone has broken, or fractured, where it was attached to the implant.
3. Dislocation – Artificial hips are made to move like hip joints, by one part moving against another. Some DePuy implants have moved out of alignment, causing dislocation.
4. Metallosis – Unlike some artificial hip systems that use metal-on-plastic or plastic-on-plastic parts, the DePuy artificial hip system uses metal-on-metal parts to reduce wear. However, as the metal rubs against itself, small bits of metal can shave off and leach into the bloodstream, causing a condition known as metallosis, or metal poisoning. The condition causes inflammation and can lead to other health problems such as anxiety, cognitive decline, constant pain, depression, dizziness, fatigue, hearing loss, memory loss, and other problems.
If you have an artificial hip and are experiencing pain or difficulty walking, see your doctor immediately to rule out any serious problems with your hip implant.