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By: Carole Maddox

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Tuesday, 17-Jul-2012 12:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Patients Report That Their Hip Replacements are Loosening Premat

Surgeons have learned over the past decade that 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. In many cases most hip implants fracture, loosen, or dislocate over a decade or two due to wear and tear. Reports have recently come to show that some of these metal on metal hip replacement systems are actually 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. Over time the hip replacement can become loose, this can cause pain and problems with the functioning of the hip replacement itself.The two options on how a hip replacement is placed in the body is either press-fit into the bone, or cemented into position. Either way, it is fit tightly into the bone of the thigh (femur) and pelvis so that the implant cannot move. If ever the implant will become loose, the hip replacement can potentially move as well.Usually this is associated with pain and loss of motion for the patient.

For patients who have experienced loosening of their hip replacements, one of their only courses of action that can be taken is hip replacement revision surgery. However, with revision operations patients almost always recover less overall motion of the joint. The implant durability also declines with each revision. It is because of this that surgeons avoid revision surgery unless it is absolutely necessary as to get the most of the implant already in the patient.

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. The 21 manufacturers include DePuy and the DePuy Pinnacle.The results of these tests will determine what kind of actions the FDA will take on metal-on-metal hip replacements.

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