Britons Fitted With Metal-On-Metal Hip Replacements Likely To Face Further Surgery

Controversial Implants Prone To Failure Are Causing Damage To Muscle And Bone


Oliver Wicks, Press Officer | 0114 274 4649

Product liability lawyers at national law firm Irwin Mitchell respond to media articles reporting that Britons fitted with metal-on-metal hip replacements in the last 10 years are three times more likely to face further surgery.

Irwin Mitchell is one of the leading claimant product liability specialists, and represents many clients with DePuy metal on metal hip implants in connection with the DePuy Pinnacle Metal on Metal Hip Litigation.

The implants are prone to failure and can cause serious damage to muscle and bone. Friction between the two metal plates in the body produce chemical fragments called ions that leak into the blood triggering inflammation.

A study published by BMJ Open into the DePuy Pinnacle device found a higher rate of manufacturing process issues since 2006 with more than a third of hips were outside the stated specifications.

The study looked at the performance of the most common artificial hip in the world - the 36mm Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip.

The researchers reviewed 434 patients. 243 women and 191 men were fitted with 489 metal-on-metal hips at a hospital trust in northern England, and were monitored for an average of 7.5 years after the procedure.

In all, 71 metal hips required surgical removal and replacement, adding up to a revision rate of 16.4 per cent, which the researchers describe as "unacceptably high."
A metal-on-metal hip consists of a metal ball, which acts as the top of the thigh bone, and a metal liner, which acts as the replacement socket. Traditional hip devices used a metal ball and a plastic socket until trends changed in the 1990s, where metal on metal became popular.

Tim Annett, product liability expert at Irwin Mitchell, said:

Expert Opinion
“The failure rates for so-called ‘large head metal- on-metal’ devices are much higher than for other types of hip implant, which can be seen from data produced by the National Joint Registry. The damage caused by the release of metal debris from the implant can cause significant injury to the soft tissues and bone around the hip, leading to the need for revision surgery at a far earlier stage than expected.

“DePuy denies that the Pinnacle metal on metal hip is defective. There is a trial planned for October 2017 at the High Court to determine whether DePuy is liable to compensate individuals who have suffered injury due to the failure of their Pinnacle implant.

“Meeting manufacturing specifications is a must for companies producing medical devices, especially those designed to be implanted within the body. People are entitled to expect the highest levels of safety for products such as hip implants.”

Tim Annett, Partner

Our specialist personal injury solicitors will provide you with free initial advice on your compensation claim if you have suffered as the result of metal-on-hip implants. View our Metal-On-Metal Hip Implants Claims page for more information.