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56,000 Metal-on-metal' hip implant patients recalled for tests over toxicity fears

I see that the MHRA ( Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) has issued another warning with regards to metal-on-metal” hip implants.

This further Alert has been issued by the government department responsible for regulating medical devices – the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency as further evidence emerges of the danger of metal on metal hips.

The MHRA is now recommending that a total of 56,000 patients with these types of metal on metal implants should be recalled for tests to check for bone or muscle damage

I have been involved in the De Puy ASR and other metal on metal hip cases since 2010, and first began acting for clients suffering with hip problems following the original Device Alert of April 2010 . The metal on metal hips (usually comprised of cobalt and chromium) have led to multiple health problems for a number of patients.

Since 2010 I have acted for dozens of people, many of them elderly clients, who have had their retirement plans ruined by their defective metal on metal hips. Many of these claimants have suffered a greatly reduced quality of life and loss of mobility. I was one of the lead solicitors in the successful De Puy ASR hip litigation and sat on the Claimant lawyers’ steering committee from 2010 onwards.

The De Puy cases arose following the recall of two hip-replacement units: the ASR XL Acetabular System and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System. According to DePuy, more than 10,000 patients in the UK received one of these two products implanted between 2003 and 2010.

A design flaw in these metal on metal hip replacements has led to some dangerous side effects. One of these sided effects was that metal particles (debris from the parts rubbing together) can be released into a patient’s bloodstream, causing reactions such as swelling due to build-up of fluid. In addition, the metal cap attached to the femur can come loose, resulting in a bone fracture or dislocation of the ball from the socket.

Today’s news means that thousands of new patients with metal on metal hips will be recalled for a battery of tests, including possible MRI scans and blood tests, due to concerns over toxicity. The alert of 29th June 2017, issued by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), expands the pool of patients believed to be at risk of bone or muscle damage from the devices, which have been implanted in around 56,000 patients in the UK.

A large number of these patients already attend annual check-ups, due to existing concerns. However, the latest guidance suggests that all patients with “metal-on-metal” hips – including those who have had the devices for many years with no problems – should now be followed up. This will mean thousands of extra patients will need to undergo testing potentially putting a further burden on the NHS.

The new guidance was issued after the MHRA’s experts found that soft tissue necrosis (break down of tissue and /or bone) may occur in patients who are not suffering symptoms such as hip pain or swelling. Damage to bone and tissue may be ongoing and if so a revision operation may be required to prevent further injury to bone and muscle.

The head of the MHRA medical device committee, Dr Neil McGuire said: “We have updated the current advice to ensure patients with metal-on-metal hip implants continue to receive appropriate follow up to detect emerging complications should they arise.Hip implants have positively transformed the lives of many patients who in the past were subject to increasingly severe pain and progressive disability. These use a variety of metal, plastic and ceramic components.Although the majority of patients with these metal-on-metal devices have well-functioning hips, it is known some may develop soft tissue reactions related to their implant. The clinical advice we have received indicates patients will likely have the best outcomes if these problems are detected early, monitored and treated if necessary.

If you are concerned about your hip replacement then please seek medical advice. If you would like to know what your rights are in terms of treatment and compensation then please call us for a no obligation discussion of your case.