According to The Business Journal (06/13/11), 80 lawsuits were filed on behalf of patients and their families in Wisconsin who allege they were harmed by the use of the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular Hip Replacement System. Lawyers for the plaintiffs noted that the hip devices were supposed to provide a "lifetime of mobility and activity" but instead have "created the potential for a lifetime of negative consequences," for patients.
DePuy Orthopaedics recalled its ASR XL hip replacement after data showed the hip devices carried a failure rate as high as 13 percent after five years. Failure of a hip device can mean that patients require revision surgery, in which the hip implant is replaced. Revision surgery carries an increased risk of complications.
The DePuy ASR XL Acetabular system is a metal-on-metal device. Reports indicate, however, that metal shavings can come off the device and be absorbed by the surrounding tissue, resulting in a condition known as metallosis. Metallosis can cause severe pain and damage to the surrounding tissue.
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Among the health problems linked to cobalt toxicity are cardiomyopathy, peripheral neuropathy and cognitive impairment.
Although the DePuy metal-on-metal device was recalled, the FDA has given approval for DePuy's ceramic-on-metal device to be sold. The device will combine a ceramic ball and metal socket. In metal-on-metal devices, both the ball and the socket lining are made of cobalt and chromium.
Signs that a hip implant has failed include pain in the hip joint and limited mobility.