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Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants: Colossal Failure?

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Vancouver, BCSukinder has been living with chronic pain and walking with a limp since having metal-on-metal hip replacement surgery several years ago. "My orthopedic surgeon said the hip revision surgery is fine, but I know it isn't fine, and now, years later, I find out about metal-on-metal hip and knee recalls…"

Sukinder was only 38 when he had both hips replaced—even more of a tragedy to be disabled so young. He had to take prednisone for a kidney transplant, a drug that can affect bone density. "After my transplant the drug affected my walking ability so I was advised to get both hips replaced," says Sukinder. "I was shocked with this news at first, but the orthopedic surgeon assured me that I was going to be fine. They showed me the metal-on-metal hip replacement and I agreed to the surgery.

"My left hip has given me problems ever since I got it. I have constant pain all the time, and if I sit for too long or when I get up to walk, it is almost unbearable. I haven't been able to work since my kidney transplant and it's hard to say if I could work now. If my hip was OK I think I could return to work, but I was a truck driver and can't pick up anything more than about 10 lbs, nor can I sit for any length of time.

"I saw my same orthopedic surgeon three or four times after the surgery and he kept telling me it was fine. And he took x-rays every time. I asked for a CAT Scan but he said I didn't need it. Now I am thinking about getting more thorough tests through a private clinic, even though I will have to pay, because I want to get rid of this pain and I want to stop taking pain killers. I've lived with this pain for so long that I don't remember what is was like to live pain-free. And I am always walking with a limp."

Understandably, Sukinder blamed the surgeon, believing something went wrong during the surgery. Even though he also complained to his family doctor, Sukinder was sent back to the same orthopedic surgeon. Now he is thinking about getting a second opinion from another surgeon, especially with the knowledge that a number of metal-on-metal hips are defective and some have even been recalled.

"Just a few weeks ago I read an article in the local newspaper about a possible recall on these metal-on-metal hips. Then I went online and was surprised to read about all the problems and so many people suffering. Now I know there is nothing wrong with me and I think my surgeon is wrong—there is something wrong with this hip."

Unfortunately, Sukinder may be facing hip revision surgery. Since 2008, medical reports have shown that the metal-on-metal hip might be defective and capable of generating high levels of metallic debris in the bloodstream, yet Sukinder has not been given blood tests. Orthopedic experts view revision surgeries as typically more complex than the initial hip replacement operations, and patients undergoing them face a significantly higher risk of lasting complications, including nerve damage.

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READER COMMENTS

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Just the thought of metal on metal and the concept of going throu that again....and even again..is criminal.

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