Hip replacement surgery is a process by which the patient receives a new synthetic joint in place of the existing deteriorated joint. Typically, the top of the thighbone is replaced with a metal ball and stem, which fits into a synthetic socket implanted in the hip consisting of a metal shell and plastic liner. Over the last decade, there have been some innovative products that utilize metal-on-metal components. Such components are designed to last longer than those in other hip replacement systems, although some people are now finding that the increased durability is not worth the additional risks that come with a metal-on-metal system.
The DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement system is an example of one recent innovative metal-on-metal device. The Pinnacle boasts the “TrueGlide” system, which uses the body’s natural lubricants to replicate the natural fluid motion of a hip joint. DePuy designed the product with the purpose of marketing it to younger patients who are more likely to maintain an active lifestyle, even after undergoing hip replacement surgery.
Since its release, the Pinnacle system has been the subject of some reported issues, including that the product has loosened, causing severe pain when the patient does something simple as extending his legs. Some patients have even required going back in for revision surgery. The bottom line is that the product, which was first marketed in 2003, should not be failing for any patients at this point, especially considering that the Pinnacle was marketed as a more durable option than your typical hip replacement system.
A more serious alleged risk has recently come to light through a study first described in an October 2010 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons press release. Due to the nature of metal-on-metal hip replacement systems, which involve metal components constantly rubbing against one another, there is a risk that pieces of metal may flake off and embed themselves in the soft tissue surrounding the device. If the particles find their way into the bloodstream of the patient, then they can be distributed throughout the body, causing metal toxicity, or “metallosis.”
There has not been a DePuy Pinnacle recall at this point, but if you have experienced loosening in your device or suffered the symptoms of metal toxicity, then you may have a claim against DePuy. The attorneys at the Rottenstein Law Group are just the people to help you determine your next steps. For a free consultation with RLG, please fill out this brief contact form or call 1 (888) 976-8529.