The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s 18-member panel, which met recently to discuss the effectiveness of metal-on-metal hip implants, arrived at the conclusion that there are few reasons to continue using these defective medical devices. According to a news report in The Associated Press, there is a growing body of evidence, which suggests that the devices can break down early and expose patients to dangerous metallic particles. The metal-on-metal hip implants, which are being scrutinized by the FDA following numerous consumer complaints about the failing implants, were originally marketed as a longer lasting alternative to older ceramic and plastic models.

However, recent research data from the United Kingdom and other foreign countries suggests that they are most likely to deteriorate and expose patients to higher levels of cobalt, chromium and other dangerous metals. So far, the FDA has not talked about a recall of these metal-on-metal implants. However, the expert panelists, who discussed this important product defect issue, have said that there were few, if any, cases where they would actually recommend implanting these devices.

Hip Implants Cause Serious Health Issues

About 400,000 people in the United States get a hip replacement each year. Metal hips accounted for about 27 percent of all hip implants in the year 2010, down from nearly 40 percent in 2008. Johnson & Johnson recalled about 93,000 of its DePuy metal hip implants in 2010.

Over the last decade or so, there have been 17,000 reports to the FDA with regard to problems with the implants. Many of the affected patients required invasive surgery to replace the deteriorating metal implants. Many patients also suffered excruciating pain and inflammation, which is usually caused by the metal particles that seep into the joint causing damage to the surrounding bone and tissue. Metal poisoning caused by these implants could even lead to neurological and heart problems, experts say.

Protecting Victims’ Rights

If you received a metal-on-metal hip implant and are experiencing pain and other symptoms, it is important that you get regular x-rays and blood testing for metal levels. Experts say that even these diagnostic tests lack accuracy when it comes to detecting the presence of metals such as chromium.

Public health advocates say that it is “unethical” to keep these metal implants in the market for the next five to 10 years. There is absolutely no reason to keep these defective products in the market. If the corporations that manufacture these hip implants want to market and sell them, they should be required by the FDA to prove their safety. Anyone who has suffered serious side effects as a result of these defective metal hip implants would be well advised to contact an experienced product liability lawyer to obtain more information about their legal rights and options.