Hip Replacement Patients Report Increase of Hip Implant Loosening

hip.jpgOver the past decade surgeons have learned newer versions of hip implants, made with a metal ball that fits into a metal socket, such as the DePuy Pinnacle, have been failing at a higher rate than traditional hip implants made of ceramic or plastic parts, medical industry publications report. Typically, most hip implants fracture, loosen, or dislocate over a decade or two due to wear and tear. Recently however, there have been reported cases of these metal on metal hip replacement systems failing after five years or less.

While there are several problems associated with these artificial hip implants, the most painful one among the side effects involves a loosening of the hip implant, something that has been repeatedly documented through consumer complaints and FDA reports. Loosening of the hip replacement can actually happen over time, and usually causes problems with the normal function of the hip replacement. The most common ways the hip replacement is placed in the body is either press-fit into the bone, or cemented into position.Each option is done to make the implant fight firmly into the femur bone and pelvis so that that implant will not move. If ever the implant will become loose, the hip replacement can potentially move as well.If this happens the patient usually begin to feel pain.

Unfortunately for those whose hip replacements have become loose, one of the only steps to correct is hip replacement revision surgery. However, with revision operations patients almost always recover less overall motion of the joint. Also, the longevity of implant decreases with each revision. Therefore, physicians tend to avoid joint replacement surgery until absolutely necessary, and try to get as much mileage out of each replacement as possible.

Increasing complaints about metal-on-metal hip implants loosening prematurely has ultimately led the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2010 to order 21 manufacturers to conduct studies on patients who have received the implants. Among these 21 manufacturers is DePuy and its DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement system. The results of these tests will determine what kind of actions the FDA will take on metal-on-metal hip replacements.
URL References:
  • orthopedics.about.com/cs/hipreplacement/a/implantissues_2.htm
  • arthritis.about.com/cs/hip/a/hiploosen.htm

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