DePuy Recalls Artificial Hips

On August 24, 2010, the DePuy  Orthopaedics unit of Johnson & Johnson recalled two kids of metal-on-metal hip implants, the ASR XL Acetabular System (ASR XL) and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System.  The ASR XL is a hip socket used in traditional hip replacement, while the ASR Hip Resurfacing System is a partial hip replacement where a metal cap is placed on the ball of the femur.  The traditional implant was available worldwide and the resurfacing implant was only approved for use in countries outside the United States.  However, patients in the United States may have also received the ASR Hip Resurfacing System.

Approximately 93,000 DePuy metal-on-metal hip devices have been implanted worldwide, with 40,000 of them being implanted in patients in the United States.  As reported by the New York Times:

"Until a recent sharp decline, all-metal implants accounted for nearly one-third of the estimated 250,000 hip replacements performed each year in the United States. Some 500,000 patients have received an all-metal replacement hip, according to one estimate. A new study found that no new artificial hip or knee introduced during a recent five-year period -- implants that included some of the all-metal hips -- were more durable than older devices, and 30 percent were worse." Several metal-on-metal hips are failing at high rates - within a few years - instead of lasting 15 years or more, as expected.  The wear of metal parts rubbing against each other results in debris that damages tissue and may leave patients disabled.

Complaints about the failure of the DePuy hip implants made to the Food and Drug Administration began two years prior to the recall.  Many patients require a second hip replacement or revision following the failure of their implants.

As of October 2011, approximately 3,500 patients had filed lawsuits involving the metal-on-metal hip implant devices recalled by DePuy.

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