13 March 2012
Law firm Leigh Day & Co, who represent over 500 people with metal-on-metal (MOM) hip implants, have supported a call for a complete ban on MOM implants after a report published in today’s Lancet claims to have found "unequivocal evidence" that they are failing at a much higher rate than other types, made from ceramic and /or polyethylene.
A team from the University of Bristol, UK, analysed data from the largest database on hip replacements in the world, the National Joint Registry of England and Wales, detailing more than 400,000 hip replacements (of which 31,171 were MOM) undertaken between 2003 and 2011.
The research found significant evidence of increased failure rates of MOM implants especially those with larger head sizes and those implanted in women, in whom failure rates are up to four-times higher.
This damning report follows advice released earlier this month by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) that patients who have received larger head MOM hip replacements would need annual check-ups. Last week the British Medical Journal outlined advice from the British Hip Society that patients needing a total hip replacement should not be given devices using bearings of 36 mm or larger until more evidence of their safety is available.
, a Partner in the product liability
team at Leigh Day & Co said: “ We have been approached by over 1000 patients with concerns over their metal on metal hip replacements and we continue to act for over 500 claimants whose lives have been blighted by these implants and who have had to undergo early revision operations to remove them.
“We would argue that the warning signs were there early on. We urgently require a regulator for medical devices and implants which ensures effective testing and approval before medical devices and implants are used, we can not continue to be left in these types of circumstances, where potentially 40 000 people in the UK are at risk of having to endure further surgery with the potential cost being shouldered by the health service funded by the taxpayer."
Ali Chapman, 52, from Whitburn in Sunderland had a ‘metal on metal’ (MoM) implant replaced in November last year after suffering many years of pain and discomfort following an initial unsuccessful resurfacing procedure, a full replacement and subsequent dislocation.
A former County lacrosse player she had been fit and active until eight years ago when she had her left hip replaced with a ceramic on plastic implant and then a year later a Corin Cormet MoM implant replaced her right hip.
Ms Chapman who is now investigating taking legal action against Corin, the manufacturers of her MoM implant, said: “Having had no problems following my left hip replacement, I really didn’t worry when I was told that I needed to have my right hip replaced too.
“However, the new hip began to feel very different from the left joint. It began constantly clicking and I really didn’t feel confident about it. After about 18 months I was in a lot of pain and discomfort and I was getting increasing problems with swelling in my leg and numbness down my thigh.
“I was told that it would be reviewed in January 2012, but I just couldn’t wait that long. I felt I had to make a fuss given the problems I was having.
“When I had my right hip implant replaced last November, the doctors told me that the MoM implant had caused muscle and bone wastage and that there was a high fluid level around my hip. There were also increased levels of metal readings in my blood. I now have ceramic on plastic implants for both hips and the new right joint seems to be an improvement. However, I am still experiencing problems caused by the muscle wastage, and I understand this will take time to resolve with extensive physio over the coming months.”
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