Complaints About Hip Replacements Soar

Tuesday, 23 August 2011 02:06 PM

More than 5,000 reports complaining about failed hip replacements have been filed since January with the Food and Drug Administration, putting the devices on a path to becoming the largest and costliest medical implant problem since a heart device recall in 2007, the New York Times reports.

Those filings concern several devices known as metal-on-metal hips, which are extensively used. According to the paper’s analysis of FDA data, the number of complaints recently made is more than the agency has received about the devices in all of the past four years.

Most of the complaint filings involve patients who have had an all-metal hip removed or are planning to have one removed because it failed after only a few years. Replacement hips typically last 15 years or more, according to the paper.

While the health problems cited are not life-threatening, some patients have been crippled as the result of shedding of small cobalt and chromium particles from the wearing metal devices.

Necessary data to help determine the problems behind the devices is hard to come by because they were sold without being tested on patients and manufacturers were not required to track their performance. In May, the FDA ordered manufacturers to study the extent of the devices’ failure and the impact on patients, but a lack of patient registries is making this difficult.

“They are grasping at how they are going to get this information,” said Dr. Robert S. Namba, an orthopedic surgeon with Kaiser Permanente.

To read the complete New York Times story, Go Here Now.

© HealthDay

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Tuesday, 23 August 2011 02:06 PM
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