Metal-on-metal hip replacement devices consist of ball and socket components that are made of metal. Because of metal’s durability, metal-on-metal devices were expected to last longer than other hip implants. An estimated 80,000 Irish people have been fitted with metal-on-metal hip implants. Before they came on the market many metal-on-metal hip replacement devices underwent very little if any testing.
The problems associated with these devices first came to worldwide attention in August 2010 when DePuy Orthopaedics, a division of Johnson & Johnson, issued a global recall of its DePuy ASR hip replacement line because of an unexpectedly high rate of premature failure. Since then, studies have found that metal-on-metal hip replacement devices can shed dangerous amount of microscopic metal particles into the blood stream leading to a myriad of health problems including:
● Cobalt and chromium poisoning
● Dislocation of the hip
● Cardio myopathy (degenerative heart muscle disease)
● Loss of bone
● Inflammatory reactions causing pain
● Early replacement
● Death of surrounding tissue
In February 2012, a BBC and British Medical Journal investigation discovered that there may be hundreds of thousands of people fitted with metal-on-metal hip implants who have been exposed to toxic metals. In March 2012, a study published in the Lancet found that metal-on-metal hip implants were significantly more likely to fail compared to other models of hip implants.