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Johnson & Johnson: First Defective DePuy Hip Trial

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Posted On 02.14.13 by in Press Room


The first trial of about 10,000 cases over Johnson & Johnson’s defective DePuy hip replacement devices has started in Los Angeles, California.  These hip devices are from a time when Johnson & Johnson and other hip implant manufacturers flirted with the idea of all-metal implants.  Most companies, including Johnson & Johnson, have discontinued manufacture of these hip implants.

Defective Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants

These devices quickly proved to be more problematic than their earlier counterparts.  The issue  is that they are comprised solely of metal components—the ball and joint, after rubbing together with movement, have been shown to cause deterioration of the metal.  Small pieces of metal then contaminate surrounding tissue and sometimes end up in the bloodstream.  Because that metal is toxic to the body, some people suffer from metallosis (metal poisoning).  This causes inflammation, pain, difficulty walking and possibly even tumors.  The metal fragments can cause the death of tissue and even lead to necrosis.  Doctors will typically test for metallosis with a blood test.

The other problem is the failure rate of these devices.  Studies are showing that they do not last nearly as long as other hip implant devices, like ceramic-on-ceramic.  Furthermore, they don’t even last as long as they should.  The Lancet reports that there is a failure rate of 6.2% after five years.  An internal Johnson & Johnson report shows that 47% of the implants failed within 4.5 years.  Replacement surgeries are costly and sometimes dangerous, particularly for older patients.

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If you have questions about a product liability claim anywhere in the United States, contact our product liability lawyers at 1-800-776-4529, or send us some brief information about your case through our online portal.   We can help you determine whether a product defect caused your injuries.

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