Depuy Orthopaedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, made an announcement on August 24th that they were issuing a voluntary hip replacement recall for two of their products: the ASR XL Acetabular System and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System. The recall was prompted by data provided by the National Joint Registry of England and Wales that 1 in every 8 systems failed, thus requiring corrective surgery within five years. When revision surgery is necessary, it is a painful procedure in which the ASR cup is taken out and replaced with a different mechanism.
Because the amount of friction between the two metal pieces, a ball and joint system, is so great, the metal components are worn down. In the process, small ions of cobalt and chromium are released into the body's cavity, making their way into soft tissue and organs. Those ions then impede with new bone growth inside the ASR device, which is essential to fusing the device to the existing bone. Because the device isn't properly secured, it can loosen and create malalignment, pain, infection, dislocation and even bone fracture.
Studies are still inconclusive but scientists seem to have found a correlation between the release of those metal ions and new bone cysts in other, healthy areas of the body. Thus, orthopaedic surgeons have been instructed not to implant the ASR devices in new patients. If you are the recent recipient of an ASR hip implant, you should schedule a follow-up visit with your surgeon. Though bone scans can sometimes reveal if the implant has failed, often times a surgeon won't know definitively without revision surgery.
Before contacting Johnson & Johnson or DePuy Orthopaedics, you would benefit from consulting with a hip recall lawyer who can help you get the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.