The Pinnacle hip replacement system has been putting its manufacturer, DePuy Orthopaedics, in a bad light recently. One of the first lawsuits alleging that the Pinnacle is defective was filed in California on November 30, 2010. According to the claim, the device prematurely loosened from the patient’s hipbone and she now suffers from pain and a severe limp. Although the problem will be fixed with revision surgery, going under the knife for a second time within a few years—and dealing with the subsequent recovery process—is not part of the plan for someone undergoing hip replacement surgery.
Loosening is not the only legitimate concern for recipients of the Pinnacle hip replacement system. The Pinnacle is a metal-on-metal device. A New York Times report published last year revealed that while the DePuy ASR, a metal-on-metal device, can go through the typical wear and tear of daily use, there is a risk of patients developing metal toxicity from particles flaking off as the metal components rub against each other. While just one to three percent of patients with metal-on-metal devices are expected to develop the condition according to the report, there are close to 100,000 estimated surgeries using metal-on-metal devices in surgery every year so thousands of lives are at risk.
Metal-on-metal hip replacement systems are a relatively new development. Other hip replacement devices typically utilize a polyethylene liner in the socket part of the synthetic joint. Because these systems typically have to be replaced once every 12-15 years, medical device manufacturers began looking for more durable alternatives that they could market to younger patients looking to maintain an active lifestyle after surgery. As a result, metal-on-metal devices were developed as a more durable alternative to the average hip replacement device.
Metal toxicity can be a dangerous condition but a patient can be completely cured with no lingering side effects if it is caught early enough. To diagnose metal toxicity a doctor will typically test for the presence of heavy metals in a hair sample. While treatment will differ based on the severity of the contamination, doctors will usually prescribe drugs that can carry the foreign substance out of the patient’s body, such as heavy doses of Vitamin C.
If you have suffered from the symptoms of metal toxicity, or have experienced loosening, pain, or other problems with your DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement device, you could have a claim against the device manufacturer. Though there has not yet been a DePuy Pinnacle recall, the attorneys at the Rottenstein Law Group have the necessary experience and expertise to help you determine if you should file a claim. For a free consultation with RLG, please fill out this simple form or call 1 (888) 976-8529.