Smith & Nephew recently announced the recall of a metal liner used in metal-on-metal hip replacements. At least 7,700 people are currently implanted with the defective device. Company officials refuse to say exactly why they are recalling the device. However, metal-on-metal hip implants have been linked to a wide range of severe side effects.
Smith & Nephew Hip Recall Overview
On Friday, June 1, 2012, Smith & Nephew PLC announced that it will be recalling a metal liner used in hip replacements. The device being recalled is a liner for the R3 Acetabular System hip implants. Company officials said that they were “not satisfied with the clinical results” for the device, but they did not say exactly what problems necessitated a recall.
Smith & Nephew said that the product was produced in 2009 and is currently implanted in about 7,700 patients. Most of the devices were implanted in stemmed total hip replacements.
Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacement
The Smith & Nephew hip recall adds to the growing frustration linked to metal-on-metal hip implants. The devices have been linked to a wide variety of side effects that are significantly greater than metal-on-plastic or ceramic designs. Manufacturers have been plagued with issues, most notably the recall of the DePuy hip implant in 2010.
Metal-on-metal hip implants have been linked to the following severe side effects:
- Metallosis, cobalt poisoning, metal toxicity: This is caused by the metal parts of the hip grinding together. Over time, the device sheds tiny particles of cobalt and chromium into the body. This may cause side effects in the hip area, or leak into the bloodstream and cause metal poisoning.
- Pseudotumors: These are abnormal tissue growths larger than 2-cm. One study found that people with metal-on-metal hip implants are 10-times more likely to have pseudotumors.
- Premature corrosion of the metal surfaces
- Device failure
- Dislocation of the hip
- Deterioration of the bone and muscle surrounding the hip replacement
- Chronic pain and swelling in the hip
- And more