Hip joint deterioration can lead to pain, stiffness or difficulty walking. When these symptoms do not respond to conservative treatment, such as physical therapy, patients may be advised to undergo total hip replacement or hip resurfacing. Components of the implant may be made of metal, ceramic or plastic.
In "metal-on-metal" hip implants, the metal ball and the metal cup slide against each other during walking or running. Metal can also be released from other parts of the implant where two implant components connect. Metal release will cause some tiny metal particles to wear off of the device into the space around the implant. Wear and corrosion at the connection between the metal ball and taper of the stem may also occur. Some of the metal ions (e.g. cobalt and chromium) from the metal implant or from the metal particles will enter the bloodstream.
Over time, the metal particles around some implants can cause damage to bone and/or tissue surrounding the implant and joint. This is sometimes referred to as an “adverse local tissue reaction (ALTR)” or an “adverse reaction to metal debris (ARMD).” Soft tissue damage may lead to infection, bone loss, bone fracture, joint dislocation, pain, local swelling, numbness, changes in a patient's ability to walk, implant loosening, and device failure. Patients with a progressing ALTR may be considered for replacement of the implant (referred to as "revision surgery") to prevent extensive damage to bone, muscle and nerves.
If your hip implant is recalled, it is important to discuss the reason for the recall with your orthopedic surgeon to determine the most appropriate course of action. Recent recalls of hip implant components include:
Metal-on-Metal Implants that remain on the market, including BioMet's M2a Magnum Hip System and Wright Medical's CONSERVE® Hip System are promoted as better alternatives, but have nevertheless been the subject of a growing number of lawsuits claiming the devices carry a high risk of failure .
Hip Replacement Alerts
If you have experienced adverse events or side effects from a hip implant find help here.