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Another Study Further Reveals Dangers of Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants


The British Medical Journal (BMJ) recently published a report further highlighting the dangers associated with the widespread use of metal -on-metal hip implants.

This report, which echoes many of the past findings, emphasizes the risks associated with metal ions, genotoxicity, and design flaws in "tweaked" designs that can have catastrophic results.

Metal Ions and Genotoxicity

The new study describes the carcinogenic and/or genotoxic potential resulting from the use of cobalt and chromium in metal-on-metal hips. As the metal inevitable wears down, even in microscopic proportions, potentially carcinogenic metal ions are released into the patients. This was known to manufacturers, as demonstrated by an internal DePuy memo from 2005. It stated that "In addition to inducing potential changes in immune function, there has been concern for some time that wear debris may be carcinogenic. The mechanism is not known and only 24 local malignancies have been reported in patients with joint replacements. Also worrying is the possibility of distant effects. One study suggested a threefold risk of lymphoma and leukemia 10 years after joint replacement. The metal to metal total hip appears to be quite promising and in the laboratory the data is (sic) definitely in its favor. However, the ultimate test is the long term human experience." Needless to say, the public was not made aware of these concerns or findings.

Design Alterations

The BMJ study reports that instead of reporting the failures, the companies elected to modify their designs "on the fly." The manufacturers changed the dimensions of the artificial hips, in some cases by enlarging the head, shortening the length of the tapers, and by narrowing the diameter of the neck. The consequences of these largely untested changes has been evident, as the newer hips are more likely to shake loose or wear down prematurely. Once the materials wear or loosen, the chances of muscle damage and toxicity increases dramatically.


Dreyer Boyajian LLP represents a large number of individuals affected by defective DePuy ASR, DePuy ASR XL, and other artificial hips. If you or a loved one believes you may have a case, contact one of our products liability attorneys today by clicking the link, or call 518-463-7784 for a free consultation.

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