Depuy Hip Lawsuits - Causes of Implant Causes Failures

Depuy Hip Lawsuits

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DePuy hip replacement and resurfacing implants may expose patients to devastating complications, including metal blood poisoning, chronic pain, loss of mobility, and the need for revision surgery.

Metal-on-metal hip implants manufactured by DePuy Orthopaedics, a subsidiary of medical device maker Johnson & Johnson, may be prone to early failure and may even expose patients to devastating and potentially life-threatening side effects, like metal blood poisoning, bone fractures, infection, nerve and bone damage, and more. If you believe you have been harmed by side effects of a DePuy hip replacement or resurfacing implant, contact an experienced defective hip implant lawyer today for legal help. You may have grounds to file a product liability lawsuit against DePuy Orthopaedics and Johnson & Johnson, in order to pursue the financial compensation you deserve for your alleged hip implant injuries and medical expenses.

DePuy Alternatives for Artificial Hip Implants

Due to the potential for metal-on-metal hip implants to cause serious and long-lasting side effects, many individuals in need of a hip replacement are looking for alternative treatment options that offer similar benefits but without the added risk of serious side effects. Some safer alternatives to DePuy metal-on-metal hip implants may include the following:

  • Metal-on-polyethylene implants
  • Ceramic-on-polyethylene implants
  • Ceramic-on-ceramic implants
  • Ceramic-on-metal implants

In fact, in light of the potential for all-metal hip implants to cause serious complications in users, the FDA recommends that surgeons only use metal-on-metal hip implants if the benefits and risks of using an all-metal system outweigh the benefits of using an alternative hip implant system.

What is a DePuy Hip Implant?

Artificial hip implants made from chromium and cobalt that may be prone to early failure and other severe complications.

DePuy hip implants are metal-on-metal hip replacement systems designed to increase range of motion and enhance stability, allowing users in need of a hip implant to return to normal, active lives following surgery. In general, the metal-on-metal design of DePuy artificial hips was supposed to help with failure rates, but studies have shown that the all-metal construction of these implants is inherently flawed and may actually put users at risk for other, more serious problems.

DePuy Total Hip Replacement System

The DePuy total hip replacement system has been implanted in approximately 93,000 people worldwide. In this surgery, the ball at the femoral head and the socket in the pelvic bone are replaced with an artificial ball and socket. The femoral head is cut off in order to accept the stem portion of the device. Recent research has shown that thirteen percent of people who have received the implant required revision surgery within five years of the original surgery.

DePuy Hip Resurfacing Implant

The DePuy resurfacing implant was developed as an alternative to a total hip replacement and is generally a more preferred method. The resurfacing method requires only a partial replacement which places a metal cap on the femur, and because less bone is removed from the patient’s body in this process, the risk of dislocation is lower. Also, since this method allows a larger portion of the bone to be preserved, revision surgeries, if necessary, are less complicated. However, data shows that one in eight, or twelve percent, of people who receive the resurfacing implant required revision surgery within five years of implantation due to hip implant failure.

Possible Side Effects Leading to a DePuy Hip Implant Lawsuit

In addition to requiring revision surgery, hip implant failure may cause serious complications for affected users, including pain, swelling, infection, loss of mobility and difficulty walking. The most common causes of hip implant failure include:

  • Loosening – When the implant does not stay attached to the bone in the correct position
  • Fracture – Where the bone around the implant may have broken
  • Dislocation – Where the two portions of the implant are no longer aligned

DePuy ASR hip implants are made up of ball and socket components that move against one another during normal use. Unfortunately, these metal components can wear over time, generating small particles that can cause fluid to collect in the joint and in the muscles surrounding the joint. These particles can potentially create a reaction, causing pain and swelling around the joint and possibly damaging the muscles, bones and nerves around the hip as well. Some common side effects of DePuy hip implants include:

  • Metallosis (metal blood poisoning)
  • Infection
  • Immobility
  • Implant dislocation
  • Bone fracture near the implant site
  • Loosening of the implant within the body
  • Nerve and bone damage
  • Pain and swelling
  • Soft tissue growths

Complications and Revision Surgeries

People who receive hip implants are typically under the impression that their hip pain will be relieved following the surgery. However, failed hip implants can cause severe side effects which may lead to infection and serious pain for users, and research shows that DePuy hip implants have a failure rate of twice the industry average. Many orthopedic doctors believe that the implant’s failure stems from a design flaw, making it difficult to implant properly, but it seems impossible that such a serious a design flaw would not be discovered during clinical testing.

Some victims of defective hip implants may develop an aseptic lymphocyte dominated vasculitis associated lesion (AVAL), a tissue reaction to the metal particles from the device. Other people will have to undergo hip physical therapy, and even more people who received a DePuy hip replacement will require revision surgery, which can be extremely complicated and expensive. Revision surgeries are more complex than primary joint replacements because there is less bone for the surgeon to work with, especially in cases of a total hip replacement, and there is more scar tissue that must be worked around.

Link Between DePuy Hip Implants and Side Effects

Most people who receive a hip implant are under the impression that the implant will alleviate their pain, improve their range of motion, and last for a large portion of their lives. However, a larger than average number of people who have received DePuy hip implants have required revision surgery within just a few years of the original surgery, and J&J estimated in 2011 that DePuy hip replacement systems would fail within five years in 40% of patients. In light of this data, two types of hip implants, the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular Hip System and the DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System, have been recalled by DePuy Orthopaedics. This recall, while absolutely necessary, came more than two years after the Food and Drug Administration began to field serious complaints about the defective DePuy hip replacement and hip resurfacing implants.

Over the past several years, the FDA has received hundreds of complaints from patients who received DePuy hip implants and subsequently suffered serious injuries, like metal blood poisoning, bone fractures and early implant failure. Unlike new drugs that must undergo extensive testing before they are approved for sale in the United States, some hip implants can receive FDA approval if they resemble an implant already in use. This allows untested products to enter the market and be used in implant surgeries, potentially causing serious problems and the need for a recipient to receive an extremely complicated and costly implant replacement surgery. As a result of injuries from DePuy hip implants, the company faces product liability lawsuits brought on behalf of consumers whose artificial hips failed prematurely and had to be removed or replaced.

Lawsuits Against DePuy for Implant Loosening, Fracture, Dislocation and Other Injuries

June 2010 – The first defective hip implant lawsuit in the United States is filed against DePuy.
December 2010 – The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation transfers all DePuy hip implant lawsuits filed in courts across the country to the Northern District of Ohio for consolidated pretrial proceedings as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL).
March 2011 – A woman from Tennessee files a lawsuit against DePuy after undergoing revision surgery to remove her defective hip implant, which caused her “debilitating pain and weakness, significant inhibitions of her ability to walk and move, elevated blood levels of chromium and cobalt,” and other injuries.
March 2011 – DePuy faces a product liability lawsuit brought on behalf of a Tennessee man who required revision surgery when his DePuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant failed.
September 2011 – An Australia class action lawsuit is filed against DePuy and J&J, alleging that the ASR hip replacement system was defectively designed and that DePuy knew there were problems with the artificial hip but failed to provide adequate warnings about this risk.
January 2012 – A Tennessee man files a complaint against DePuy and Johnson & Johnson, seeking compensation for injuries he suffered after his DePuy hip implant failed.
August 2012 – Johnson & Johnson agrees to pay $200,000 each in product liability lawsuits filed by three women who received ASR hip implants that had to be removed and replaced.
March 2013 – In one of the first DePuy ASR hip implant lawsuits to go to trial, a Los Angeles jury rules against DePuy Orthopaedics, finding that the artificial hip was defective in design, and awards the plaintiff $8.3 million in damages.
April 2013 – A Chicago jury returns a verdict in favor of DePuy in a lawsuit filed by a 54-year-old nurse who suffered painful tissue damage requiring revision surgery just three years after receiving her ASR hip implant.
November 2013 – Johnson & Johnson agrees to settle 7,500 DePuy ASR hip implant lawsuits for approximately $250,000 per claim, for a total of about $2.5 billion.
March 2014 – About 8,000 plaintiffs pursing legal action against DePuy for its recalled ASR hip implants must decide by April 1 whether to opt-in or opt-out of a multi-state settlement worth roughly $4 billion.
October 2014 – A Texas jury rules in favor of DePuy in a product liability lawsuit filed by a woman who claims that she was poisoned by a DePuy Pinnacle hip implant and required multiple revision surgeries to replace the implant and address her tissue infections, metal blood poisoning and other injuries.
February 2015 – Johnson & Johnson agrees to pay about $420 million more to resolve an additional 1,400 lawsuits filed on behalf of individuals who received an ASR hip implant and required revision surgery between August 31, 2013 and January 31, 2015.
February 2015 – An Oklahoma jury returns a verdict in favor of the plaintiff in a lawsuit brought against DePuy over injuries and revision surgeries associated with the company’s ASR XL metal-on-metal hip implants.

FDA, DePuy Hips and Side Effects

December 2009 – DePuy withdraws the ASR hip implant from the Australian market, and details a plan to phase the device out worldwide by 2010, citing slow sales as the reason for its removal.

March 2010 – DePuy finally acknowledges in a letter to doctors that its ASR metal-on-metal hip replacement system is defective and prone to early failure. At this time, the FDA has already received hundreds of reports of early failure involving the ASR hip implant system.

August 2010 – DePuy issues a recall of both its ASR XL Acetabular System and its ASR Hip Resurfacing System, citing a higher-than-normal rate of failure.

February 2011 – The FDA launches an all-metal hip implant webpage to provide consumers and doctors with updated safety information and recommendations regarding metal-on-metal hip replacement systems.

May 2011 – The FDA warns that there are “unique risks” for metal-on-metal hip implants, and orders all manufacturers of these artificial hips to conduct studies to determine how often the all-metal hips are failing.

2011 – Johnson & Johnson estimates in an internal document that the ASR hip implant would fail within five years in 40% of patients who received the artificial hip.

June 2012 – The Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Devices Advisory Panel is convened to explore the safety and effectiveness of all-metal hip implants, and indicates that there is little reason for surgeons to continue using the medical devices.

September 2012 – Australian regulators recommend routine blood tests and soft tissue imaging for all individuals implanted with a metal-on-metal hip implant.

January 2013 – The FDA issues a safety communication providing consumers and doctors with updated information about the safety and effectiveness of all-metal hip implants.

January 2013 – Federal regulators issue a proposed order requiring the manufacturers of metal-on-metal hip implants to submit premarket approval applications.

May 2013 – DePuy removes its Complete and Ultamet metal-on-metal hip implant liners from the market, and announces that it is phasing out all-metal devices in favor of plastic and ceramic implants.

November 2013 – Hospitals in the United Kingdom ban all-metal hip replacement systems, due to higher-than-normal failure rates.

DePuy Hip Implant Studies

November 2010 – Researchers from the UK publish a study on the failure rate of the Ultima metal liner, designed to be used with DePuy’s Ultima Metal-on-Metal Acetabular Cup, and found that 13.8% of hips required revision surgery after failing. During the revision surgeries, doctors found a number of serious complications, including cloudy fluid pockets in the hip, ruptured tendons and necrosis (tissue death).

October 2011 – In a special report published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers examined a Department of Justice settlement agreement with five major hip implant manufacturers – DePuy, Biomet, Smith & Nephew, Stryker and Zimmer – and found that orthopedic surgeons received payments from these five companies for consulting, research and clinical study work, as well as royalties on products they helped develop.

February 2012 – The British Medical Journal and BBC launch an investigation into metal-on-metal hip replacement systems, and report that there may be hundreds of thousands of patients who have defective hip implants that may expose them to toxic metal.

March 2012 – All-metal hip implants like DePuy’s ASR hip replacement system are significantly more likely to fail than other hip implant models, according to research published in The Lancet.

March 2012Research conducted by the National Joint Registry of England and Wales indicates that 12% of patients who received the DePuy ASR hip implant, and 13% of those who received the ASR total hip replacement system, required revision surgery after five years.

June 2012 – A study published in Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery suggests that patients who receive metal-on-metal total hip replacements may face a ten-times greater risk of developing semi-solid masses called pseudotumors.

December 2012 – A study published in the medical journal Orthopedics details the case of a 54-year-old woman who received the DePuy Pinnacle hip implant and developed soft-tissue growths called bursal cysts in her hip, allegedly caused by metal fragments shed by the implant during use. According to the study, the cysts cut off circulation to the woman’s lower leg and she eventually required revision surgery to replace the device with a ceramic hip.

February 2013 – Women are 29% more likely than men to require revision surgery for metal-on-metal hip implant failure within three years, according to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Why We Think DePuy Orthopaedics Should Be Held Liable for Defective Hip Implants

According to a growing body of research, as many as 50% of patients implanted with a DePuy hip implant may require revision surgery within six years of the artificial hip being implanted, and individuals across the country who received defective hip implants are suing DePuy, alleging that the medical device maker is guilty of several counts of negligence, including:

  • Failure to warn
  • Fraud
  • Gross negligence and malice
  • Negligent mispresentation
  • Willfully concealing hip implant risks from the public

According to DePuy hip implant complaints, the medical device maker knew about problems with its metal-on-metal hips as early as 2007, but waited until 2010 to issue a recall of its ASR Hip Resurfacing System and ASR XL Acetabular system.

What should you do? If you have suffered injuries allegedly caused by a defective hip implant, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible to discuss filing a DePuy hip implant lawsuit.

Approximately 250,000 people undergo hip replacement surgery every year in the United States, and patients who received DePuy artificial hip implants may now be at risk for serious complications that may require revision surgery to remove and replace the device. If you received a DePuy hip implant in the past, and you have since experienced side effects like implant fracture, loosening or dislocation, metal blood poisoning, or any other complication that results in the failure of the artificial hip, contact our consumer advocates at the Consumer Justice Foundation today. We are dedicated to protecting the rights of consumers harmed by defective medical products, and can help put you in touch with a knowledgeable attorney who has experience handling defective hip implant claims.

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