The ASR ™ Hip Replacement and the ASR ™ Monoblock Metal-on-Metal System are both hip replacement apparatuses manufactured by DePuy orthopaedics, a subsidiary of the Johnson & Johnson company. Hip replacement and its many alternatives are often explored when individuals experience serious hip fractures, a broken hip, or suffer from osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease that often targets the hips.
Both the ASR ™ Hip Replacement and the ASR ™ Monoblock Metal-on-Metal System are alternatives to full hip replacement surgery, which entails removing the hip and replacing it completely. The ASR ™ Hip Replacement is a form of hemiarthroplasty, which allows for partial implants on part of the hip, often the femoral head, but does not necessitate the full removal of the hip. The ASR ™ Monoblock Metal-on-Metal System is another alternative to full hip replacement in that it is a bone conserving procedure that involves placing a metal cap on the on the femoral head as opposed to removing it.
DePuy’s hip replacement alternatives were placed on the market in 2003 and widely marketed to younger patients as part of the new generation of “metal-on-metal” implants. DePuy’s products were used for over 93,000 implants world wide, accounting for around 23% of the total hip replacement market. DePuy’s Hip Implant device and Monoblock Metal-on-Metal System were recalled in August of 2010 due to the observed buildup of metal particles in or around the hips of patients and several adverse side effects. Since the recall, Johnson & Johnson has allegedly made a conscious effort to “lowball” settlements in affected patients.
Metallic buildup in the hips is generally due to the metallic nature of the metal implants in the case of the ASR Hip Replacement and the metal-on-metal nature of the hip resurfacing process. A serious buildup of metal in the body is referred to as metallosis, a condition when the toxicity of the tissue around the hip or bone marrow in the hip leads to infection. Several factors directly linked to the engineering of DePuy’s product may lead to heightened likelihood of metallic buildup. Factors include: The size of the femoral head implant(smaller heads are more dangerous due to friction with metal surfacing), abduction angle( larger angles more likely to cause friction), and the shallowness of the femoral cup( linked to increase friction if shallow).
According to a report published earlier this year in The New York Times, metal-on-metal hip implants have been used in about one-third of the approximately 250,000 hip replacements performed annually in the US. They are also used in hip resurfacing procedures. The implants, whose ball-and-socket joints are made from cobalt and chromium, were thought to be more durable.
Several adverse effects have been linked to either metallosis or the poorly engineered hip replacement systems such as spontaneous dislocation, large tissue mass, buildup of fluids, bone deterioration, and several other related effects.
The build up of metallic particles in the blood, bone marrow, or bone often leads to metallosis, which has a number of damaging long term and short term effects. In addition, The requisite hip implant or bone/tissue removal due to the adverse effects of DePuy’s products often leads to the need for further surgeries to repair damages.
- Intense paint at the site of hip replacement
- Groin or thigh pain
- Spontaneous dislocation
- Tissue Mass or Rash
- Black tissue
- Bone Deterioration
Long term effects:
- Chromosomal Damage
- Carcinogenesis ( development of cancerous cells)
- Increased Lymphocytes (Lymphocytosis- results in “sick” symptoms)
- Necessity for additional surgeries to remove implants, mass tissue buildup, or infected bones.
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